Gagosian presents an exhibition of new works by Edmund de Waal

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Gagosian presents an exhibition of new works by Edmund de Waal
Installation view of Edmund de Waal: some winter pots, 2020 © Edmund de Waal. Prudence Cummings Associates. Courtesy Gagosian.

LONDON.- Gagosian is presenting an exhibition of new works by artist and author Edmund de Waal, made during lockdown earlier this year.

This is the first time in sixteen years that de Waal has made single works that are not parts of installations. They are specifically designed to be touched and held in the hand.

De Waal comments, “I made these pots in lockdown during the spring and early summer. I was alone in my studio and silent and I needed to make vessels to touch and hold, to pass on. I needed to return to what I know—the bowl, the open dish, the lidded jar. When you pick them up you will find the places where I have marked and moved the soft clay. Some of these pots are broken and patched on their rims with folded lead and gold; others are mended with gold lacquer. Some hold shards of porcelain.

In the studio I had two old Chinese bowls from the Song dynasty. One was patched on the rim with iron. The other had a beautiful thin golden thread running from the rim, repaired using the Japanese art of kintsugi. Kintsugi is not an art of erasure—the invisible mend, the erasing of a mistake—but rather a way of marking loss. Both these bowls were central to the making of this work.

These black vessels show the flux of glaze. The white dishes have been fired without glaze so that each mark is present. They are bone clear.

These are some pots for the hands, for this winter.”

The exhibition has been installed so that it can also be seen from the street.

Edmund de Waal’s art and literature speak to his enduring fascination with the nature of objects and the narratives of their collection and display. A potter since childhood and an acclaimed writer, de Waal has a long-held obsession with porcelain, or “white gold.” This fascination has led to encounters with many people and places that have helped deepen his understanding of the nature of the material. De Waal is best known for his large-scale installations of porcelain vessels, which have been exhibited in many museums around the world. Much of his recent work has been concerned with ideas of collecting and collections, and how objects are kept together, lost, stolen, and dispersed. His work comes out of a dialogue between Minimalism, architecture, and sound and is informed by his passion for literature.

De Waal was born in 1964 in Nottingham, England. He received a BA Honors in English literature in 1983 from the University of Cambridge, England, and a postgraduate diploma in Japanese language in 1992 from the University of Sheffield, England. De Waal was a senior research fellow in ceramics at the University of Westminster, London, in 2002. Recent solo museum exhibitions include Ceramic Rooms, Geffrye Museum, London (2001); New Art Centre, Roche Court, England (2004); Arcanum, National Museum Cardiff, Wales (2005); Vessel, perhaps, Millgate Museum, Newark, England (2006); Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, England (2007); Signs and Wonders, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2009); Night Work, New Art Centre, Roche Court, England (2010); Waddesdon Manor, England (2012); On White: Porcelain Stories from the Fitzwilliam, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, England (2013); Another Hour, Southwark Cathedral, London (2014); Atmosphere, Turner Contemporary, Margate, England (2014); Lichtzwang, Theseus Temple, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2014); The lost and the found: work from Orkney, New Art Centre, Roche Court, England (2015); and white: a project by Edmund de Waal, Royal Academy of Arts, London. His work has been shown and collected by museums throughout the world, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In 2016 de Waal curated During the Night at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

De Waal’s acclaimed memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes was the winner of the Costa Biography Award and the RSL Ondaatje Prize. In 2015 de Waal was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for nonfiction by Yale University. His latest book, The White Road: Journey into an Obsession, was published in November 2015.

De Waal lives and works in London.

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