Exhibitions and Installations

State Library of NSW

'Possessed' explored the idea of collecting, as it revealed the Library's collections of paintings, manuscripts and artefacts. The first gallery, titled 'Wunderkammer', evoked the history of private collections with their cabinets of wondrous objects.

The theme of collecting was introduced by paintings of butterflies and insects, arranged in playful disorder. Their arrangement suggested that the usual museum classifications would be replaced by alternative associations.

'Cabinet of Entombment', for example, seemed to create a classification related to death, with artefacts including a relic of blood from Charles I. By contrast, 'Cabinet Houdini' featured items alluding to the evasion of death, and to forms of escape, including letters by the American writer, Paul Bowles, written on hashish wrappers.

"...clean, clear and clever concept. A visitor is constantly eager to see more, to explore more, to learn. Exhibition curator John Murphy is also the author of a booklet accompanying the exhibition and what a work of art his publication is. Beautiful. Rare."
(Zoja Bojic, Sydney Bulletin, 18 March 1997)