Contamination

Arnaud Maggs


“Maggs’s serial works promote internal comparisons, whether studious or meditative; they occupy the mind and refresh it. A book ... that we should normally apprehend diachronically is represented synchronically, resulting in a first impression of complexity and mutability in which we are invited to play a part.” – Martha Langford, Arnaud Maggs Nomenclature, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2006.

Contamination shows pages of a water damaged ledger from the 1905 Yukon Gold Rush. The factual transactions recorded in the book have been bypassed in favour of showing a series of mould formations that have migrated from page to page through the unused portion of the book. The soft tainted pages and the bleeding pink ink are ghostlike traces, phantoms of a cruel history, motivated largely by dreams of wealth. The spores are the animating principle of this work. The book itself is the host, the ground upon which these spores dance. As we approach the last pages of the book, we see the mould subsiding, gradually disappearing, leaving us with but a memory of what went before. The contaminated pages silently speak of a forgotten epoch of unfulfilled desires and delusional dreams.