– Autumn/Winter 2004

Drawings of Removal

Catrin Lorch

The other day a young, world-famous researcher reported that for a long time she could not choose between the natural sciences and the humanities. Finally, she chose physics because she found in it a more elegant perspective, one that understood research in terms of masses, forces and their distribution. Complex inconsistencies find happy resolutions in geometry. 'The world is a sphere.'


Edgar Arceneaux travels with his father to provincial Texas. Beaumont is the city where the old man was born, though he hasn't been back for 40 years. His fading memories cannot recognise anything anymore. The town has completely changed, and his parental home has gone. Modernisation has swallowed the landscape and gnawed on the grid of the streets. His memories will not align with the look of the city; the views are different and they certainly do not match the anecdotes that gradually coagulated into images in his son's mind. Drawings of Removal, an installation at Kunsthalle Basel, is Edgar Arceneaux's attempt to trace these encapsulated movements of approach, destruction and reconstruction. The group exhibition 'Persönliche Pläne' (Personal Plans) designated a corner for the then 30-year-old artist, into which he moved himself together with a desk and chair, a freestanding gallows with attached spotlight, paints, paper, tape, safety pins, paste and an archive. Slits were cut into a metre-high length of paper that was constantly changing as small drawings were stuck on it, with other areas shaded black. Next to these elements, six-foot high papier-mâché cylinders leant against the wall. Like capsules in an old pneumatic communication system, the cylinders would carry the installation to its next venue, Basel being the sixth station since 1999 for a

  1. 'More Hammer', in art.blogging.la, 20 February 2004

  2. Umberto Eco, 'Postilla', Il nome della rosa, Milan: Bompiani, 1980, p.11

  3. Edgar, Arceneaux and Vincent Johnson, 'Interview - Edgar Arceneaux was interviewed by Vincent Johnson at the artist's studio in Pasadena California, June 29 2001', The Trivium (exh. cat.), Claremont: Pomona College Museum of Art, 2001

  4. Ibid.

  5. Jorge Luis Borges, 'The Library of Babel', Fictions, New York: Grove Press, 1962

  6. Eungie Joo and Edgar Arceneaux, 'Library as Cosmos - Eungie Joo speaks with Edgar Arceneaux', Lost Library, Ulm: Kunstverein Ulm, 2003

  7. Marcel Proust, 'A propos du "style" de Flaubert', La Nouvelle Revue Française, January 1920