For his vast archive of drawings that he began in 1992 and has continued on a daily basis ever since Marcel van Eeden has attracted significant international attention. Born in 1965 in The Hague the artist has chosen to concentrate exclusively on the period before his birth for his source material, culling images and text fragments from old photographs, magazines, newspapers, art history and film stills and then recreating them in graphite and occasionally coloured pencil. From within this conceptual framework van Eeden animates a time he did not know while also removing his own biography from his production in the process. Thus the drawings can be seen as a kind of anti-legacy in which the artist’s absence is all the more apparent. In fact the entire cycle of drawings has been referred to in the past as “The Encyclopedia Of My Death”. In 2004 van Eeden began linking individual drawings into groups with distinct narratives. One such series, “K.M. Wiegand: Life and Work”, presented at the 4th Berlin Biennial in 2006, comprised 150 drawings in which an impossible, fictitious biography was crafted for a real, historical (and presumably mild-mannered) botanist. This was followed by the series “Celia” (shown at the Kunstverein Hannover) about Celia Copplestone and, in 2007, both “The Archeologist: The Travels of Oswald Sollmann” (shown at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Caja de Burgos, Spain) and “The Death of Matheus Boryna” (shown at the Kunstverein Heidelberg). In each of these the viewer encounters fictional protagonists, inspired by historical figures, whose motives and relationship to others is complex, fragmentary and shifting. K.M. Wiegand, Celia Copplestone, Oswald Sollmann and Matheus Boryna all intersected in the 2008 series “The Zurich Trial, Part 1: Witness For The Prosecution” (shown at the Kunsthalle Hamburg). Then in 2009 van Eeden created “Sammlung Boryna” especially for a solo booth at Art Basel where the focus of the series was the protagonist’s role as an art collector. In early 2010, in Zurich, van Eeden presented “A Cutlet Vaudeville Show” in which, as Judith Welter writes, “the three main characters, dressed as cutlets and in various roles, appear together on stage in several, sequential humorist presentations. In the context of the entire cycle, the harmless showplace and the ironic plot obscure the possibly dubious intrigues incited by the characters’ multiple identities.” For Marcel van Eeden’s exhibition in Canada he has drawn a new cycle of forty drawings that weave a blood-stained, violent narrative set among cabins on a lake…

Related press: Globe and Mail - May 2010,Marcel van Eeden (Artforum), Murder Most Marvelous: Marcel van Eeden at Clint Roenisch, Press Release


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