Sitting in an empty corner of The Henry Art Gallery is a small shack made from wooden slats no more than an inch thick. There are slivers of space between each board, and, despite the gallery's tall ceilings, the shack is hardly more than six feet tall. It seems almost like a relic of history, maybe the crowded house of a family on the frontier, or a shed containing hidden fugitives, but certainly not the exterior of "Library of Black Lies," one of the most thought provoking and unique pieces of modern art created by artist Edgar Arceneaux.
As you step inside the shack, you are greeted by a partially obscured mirror reflecting back an image of yourself. Shelves with books—some old, some wrapped in black tarps and tied together with string—create a labyrinth, one that is purposefully disorienting, but guides you to the center. As I walked through this labyrinth, the shack seemed to become larger, and my reflection peeked back at me, wondering where I would turn and where my path would lead. As I finally approached the center of the shack (shortcuts through the circuitous route are impossible), the books on display were no longer covered with drab tarps—instead, they sparkled, a warm yellow light glinting off the sugar crystals erupting from the pages.