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Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, breathturn, I, 2013 476 porcelain vessels in aluminum and plexiglass cabinet, 90 ½ × 118 ⅛ × 4 inches (229.7 × 300 × 10 cm)© Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

Edmund de Waal, breathturn, I, 2013

476 porcelain vessels in aluminum and plexiglass cabinet, 90 ½ × 118 ⅛ × 4 inches (229.7 × 300 × 10 cm)
© Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

Edmund de Waal, atmosphere, 2014 286 porcelain vessels in 9 aluminum and plexiglass vitrines, each: 11 ⅞ × 118 ⅛ × 9 ⅞ inches (30 × 300 × 25 cm)Installation view, Turner Contemporary, Margate, England© Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

Edmund de Waal, atmosphere, 2014

286 porcelain vessels in 9 aluminum and plexiglass vitrines, each: 11 ⅞ × 118 ⅛ × 9 ⅞ inches (30 × 300 × 25 cm)
Installation view, Turner Contemporary, Margate, England
© Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

Edmund de Waal, the ten thousand things, for John Cage, XX, 2015 3 porcelain vessels and Cor-Ten steel block in aluminum box, 17 ¾ × 17 ¾ × 7 ½ inches (45 × 45 × 19 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, the ten thousand things, for John Cage, XX, 2015

3 porcelain vessels and Cor-Ten steel block in aluminum box, 17 ¾ × 17 ¾ × 7 ½ inches (45 × 45 × 19 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, the reader, 2016 56 porcelain vessels, 13 alabaster blocks, and 5 Cor-Ten steel blocks in aluminum, wood, and plexiglass vitrine, 84 ¼ × 102 ⅜ × 5 ⅜ inches (214 × 260 × 13.5 cm)Installation view, Artipelag, Gustavsberg, Sweden, 2017© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, the reader, 2016

56 porcelain vessels, 13 alabaster blocks, and 5 Cor-Ten steel blocks in aluminum, wood, and plexiglass vitrine, 84 ¼ × 102 ⅜ × 5 ⅜ inches (214 × 260 × 13.5 cm)
Installation view, Artipelag, Gustavsberg, Sweden, 2017
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, during the night, 2016 55 porcelain vessels, porcelain shards, tin boxes, lead shot, lead, and Cor-Ten steel elements in plexiglass and aluminum vitrine, 84 ¼ × 102 ⅜ × 5 ½ inches (214 × 260 × 14 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, during the night, 2016

55 porcelain vessels, porcelain shards, tin boxes, lead shot, lead, and Cor-Ten steel elements in plexiglass and aluminum vitrine, 84 ¼ × 102 ⅜ × 5 ½ inches (214 × 260 × 14 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, during the night, 2016 (detail) 55 porcelain vessels, porcelain shards, tin boxes, lead shot, lead, and Cor-Ten steel elements in plexiglass and aluminum vitrine, 84 ¼ × 102 ⅜ × 5 ½ inches (214 × 260 × 14 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, during the night, 2016 (detail)

55 porcelain vessels, porcelain shards, tin boxes, lead shot, lead, and Cor-Ten steel elements in plexiglass and aluminum vitrine, 84 ¼ × 102 ⅜ × 5 ½ inches (214 × 260 × 14 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, music in thirteen parts, 2017 11 porcelain vessels and 2 alabaster blocks in aluminum and plexiglass vitrine, 23 ⅝ × 55 ⅛ × 11 ⅞ inches (60 × 140 × 30 cm)© Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

Edmund de Waal, music in thirteen parts, 2017

11 porcelain vessels and 2 alabaster blocks in aluminum and plexiglass vitrine, 23 ⅝ × 55 ⅛ × 11 ⅞ inches (60 × 140 × 30 cm)
© Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

Edmund de Waal, that pause of space, 2019 8 porcelain vessels, 6 porcelain tiles with gold leaf, and alabaster block with gold leaf, in gilded aluminum and plexiglass vitrine, 22 ⅞ × 30 × 11 inches (58 × 76 × 28 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, that pause of space, 2019

8 porcelain vessels, 6 porcelain tiles with gold leaf, and alabaster block with gold leaf, in gilded aluminum and plexiglass vitrine, 22 ⅞ × 30 × 11 inches (58 × 76 × 28 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, no speaking is left in me, 2013 14 porcelain vessels on an aluminum girder, 12 3/16 × 39 ⅜ × 9 9/16 inches (31 × 100 × 24.3 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, no speaking is left in me, 2013

14 porcelain vessels on an aluminum girder, 12 3/16 × 39 ⅜ × 9 9/16 inches (31 × 100 × 24.3 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, the first day and the first hour, 2013 26 porcelain vessels in 7 wood, aluminum, and glass vitrines, 15 ¾ × 66 ⅝ × 6 11/16 inches (40 × 169.2 × 17 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, the first day and the first hour, 2013

26 porcelain vessels in 7 wood, aluminum, and glass vitrines, 15 ¾ × 66 ⅝ × 6 11/16 inches (40 × 169.2 × 17 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, Eisenach, 2013 36 porcelain vessels in 12 wood, aluminum, and glass vitrines, 15 ¾ × 171 ⅝ × 6 11/16 inches (40 × 436 × 17 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, Eisenach, 2013

36 porcelain vessels in 12 wood, aluminum, and glass vitrines, 15 ¾ × 171 ⅝ × 6 11/16 inches (40 × 436 × 17 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, thirteen, 2013 26 porcelain vessels on 13 aluminum brackets, Each: 6 × 3 × 3 inches (15.5 × 8 × 8 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, thirteen, 2013

26 porcelain vessels on 13 aluminum brackets, Each: 6 × 3 × 3 inches (15.5 × 8 × 8 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, there is a land called Lost, 2013 52 porcelain vessels in 3 wood, aluminum, and plexiglass vitrines, Each: 13 ¾ × 51 ¼ × 10 ¼ inches (35 × 130 × 25.5 cm)© Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal, there is a land called Lost, 2013

52 porcelain vessels in 3 wood, aluminum, and plexiglass vitrines, Each: 13 ¾ × 51 ¼ × 10 ¼ inches (35 × 130 × 25.5 cm)
© Edmund de Waal

About

I’ve always loved the idea of the mutability of things. . . . Nothing is forever. . . . There’s an inherent instability about how objects work in space.
—Edmund de Waal

In his visual art and literary works, Edmund de Waal uses objects as vehicles for human narrative, emotion, and history. His installations of handmade porcelain vessels, often contained in minimalist structures, investigate themes of diaspora, memory, and materiality.

Born in Nottingham, England, de Waal apprenticed with the renowned potter Geoffrey Whiting from 1981 to 1983, an experience that catalyzed his interest in bridging Chinese and Japanese ceramic traditions with medieval English techniques. De Waal went on to receive a BA in English literature from the University of Cambridge in 1986, followed in 1991 by a Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation scholarship, which he used to obtain a postgraduate diploma in Japanese language from the University of Sheffield and to study at the Mejiro Ceramics studio in Tokyo. While in Japan he began writing a monograph on Bernard Leach, the “father” of British studio pottery.

Upon returning to London in 1993, de Waal shifted his focus from stoneware to porcelain and began to experiment with arrangements of objects, such as teapots, bottles, and jugs. Groupings or “cargoes” of irregular porcelain vessels would become central to his work, fluctuating in scale and breadth over the years. One of de Waal’s first major architectural interventions came in 2002 with The Porcelain Room at the Geffrye Museum (now the Museum of the Home), London, in which he arranged 650 vessels on shelves and within cavities in the floor and ceiling of a chamber illuminated by a porcelain window.

Thinking of the crafting and placement of ceramic vessels as a form of poetry, de Waal has continued to transform spaces with his objects. Signs & Wonders (2009) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, saw 425 glazed porcelain vessels positioned on a red shelf along the inner ledge of the museum’s uppermost cupola—a love letter of sorts to the museum’s collection and a celebration of its new ceramics galleries. In 2019, the exhibition elective affinities juxtaposed de Waal’s vessels with illustrious works from the Frick Collection, New York.

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Edmund de Waal, stone for two hands and water, 2021, Hornton stone, bamboo, and water, 27 ⅜ × 56 ¾ × 23 ⅝ inches (69.5 × 144 × 60 cm), installation view, Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Perry Green, England

The Thinking Hand

Edmund de Waal speaks with Richard Calvocoressi about touch in relation to art and our understanding of the world, and discusses the new stone sculptures he created for the exhibition This Living Hand: Edmund de Waal Presents Henry Moore, at the Henry Moore Studios & Gardens. Their conversation took place at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, in the context of the exhibition The Human Touch.

Edmund de Waal and Theaster Gates

Artist to Artist: Edmund de Waal and Theaster Gates

Join the artists for an extended conversation about their most recent exhibitions, their forebears in the world of ceramics, and the key role that history plays in their practices.

Installation view, Edmund de Waal: some winter pots, Gagosian, Davies Street

Edmund de Waal: some winter pots

Join the artist in his ceramics studio as he describes the impetus behind his exhibition in London and the importance of touch in the creation of these new works.

Edmund de Waal working in his studio.

Edmund de Waal: cold mountain clay

At his studio in London, Edmund de Waal speaks about his new body of work, created in the silence and solitude of lockdown. Composed of layers of porcelain slip inscribed with lines of verse by the poet Hanshan, these works are presented in cold mountain clay, de Waal’s first exhibition in Hong Kong.

Edmund de Waal, London, 2019

Edmund de Waal: psalm

Edmund de Waal speaks with Alison McDonald about the components of psalm, his two-part project in Venice. He details the influences behind the exhibition and reveals some of his hopes for the project.

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1928. Photo: Lou Andreas-Salomé

Rainer Maria Rilke: Duino Elegies

Bobbie Sheng explores the symbiotic relationship between the poet and visual artists of his time and tracks the enduring influence of his poetry on artists working today.

Anselm Kiefer, Volkszählung (Census), 1991, steel, lead, glass, peas, and photographs, 163 ⅜ × 224 ½ × 315 inches (4.1 × 5.7 × 8 m)/

Cast of Characters

James Lawrence explores how contemporary artists have grappled with the subject of the library.

Sally Mann and Edmund de Waal at the Frick Collection, New York, November 8, 2019.

In Conversation
Edmund de Waal and Sally Mann

Sally Mann joins Edmund de Waal onstage at the Frick Collection in New York to converse about art, writing, and the importance of place in their respective bodies of work. 

Edmund de Waal and Jan Dalley, FT Weekend Festival, London, September 7, 2019

In Conversation
Edmund de Waal and Jan Dalley

At the FT Weekend Festival 2019 in London, Edmund de Waal sat down for a conversation with Financial Times arts editor Jan Dalley. They spoke about the relationship between words and sculpture in his practice, and about two recent projects: the two-part exhibition psalm, in Venice, and Elective Affinities, at the Frick Collection, New York.

Edmund de Waal: psalm

Edmund de Waal: psalm

The artist speaks about his two-part exhibition psalm, presented in Venice. He describes its connection to the history of the city and to notions of exile, and the profound cultural wealth that comes from migration.

Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

The Summer 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Afrylic by Ellen Gallagher on its cover.

Edmund de Waal and Simon Fisher Turner: Tapping the World

In Conversation
Edmund de Waal and Simon Fisher Turner: Tapping the World

Edmund de Waal speaks with the composer Simon Fisher Turner about their collaboration on the exhibition –one way or other– at the Schindler House in West Hollywood, California.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Edmund de Waal. Photo: Tom Jamieson

Reading and Book Signing

Edmund de Waal

Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 7pm
Burlington Arcade, London

Join Gagosian for an evening with Edmund de Waal in celebration of de Waal +, his takeover of the Gagosian Shop in Burlington Arcade. The artist will give a short reading and then sign copies of his books, which will be available to purchase at the event. Composer Simon Fisher Turner, de Waal’s friend and collaborator, will be signing a limited number of copies of A Quiet Corner in Time, the 2020 album that marked the first time de Waal worked closely with a musician.

Register

Edmund de Waal. Photo: Tom Jamieson

Photo: courtesy International Catalogue Raisonné Association

Talk

ICRA Annual Conference 2022
Legacy: The Artist’s View

Thursday, December 1, 2022, 9:30am
Cromwell Place, London
icra.art

The International Catalogue Raisonné Association conference will give artists, their families, and catalogue raisonné authors space to articulate their thoughts on the theme of legacy. Engaging with the question of posterity, the conference asks how a family’s closeness to the artist can be both a blessing and a challenge, and thinks about ways in which later generations as well as nonfamily members can address issues surrounding an artist’s continued relevance. Edmund de Waal will be the keynote speaker and Michael Craig-Martin and Rachel Whiteread will contribute to the conference as well. The in-person and online event will include a question-and-answer session.

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Photo: courtesy International Catalogue Raisonné Association

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Fair

Art Basel Miami Beach 2022

December 1–3, 2022, Booth D5
Miami Beach Convention Center
artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of modern and contemporary works at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Returning to Miami for the fair’s twentieth anniversary, the gallery is honored to have participated each year the fair has been held.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

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Museum Exhibitions

Edmund de Waal, atmosphere, 2014, installation view, Turner Contemporary, Margate, England © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

On View

Edmund de Waal in
Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art

Through January 8, 2023
Hayward Gallery, London
www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Strange Clay is the first large-scale group exhibition in the United Kingdom to explore how contemporary artists have used clay in unexpected ways. The artworks, by twenty-three artists working across recent decades, range from small abstract works to large-scale installations, vary in finish and technique, and address topics including architecture, social justice, the body, the domestic, and the organic. Work by Edmund de Waal is included.

Edmund de Waal, atmosphere, 2014, installation view, Turner Contemporary, Margate, England © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

Edmund de Waal, the night office, 2022, installation view, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, England © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Chris Lacey

Closed

Edmund de Waal
we live here, forever taking leave

June 15–October 23, 2022
Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, England
waddesdon.org.uk

This exhibition showcases new and celebrated works in porcelain by Edmund de Waal. Powerfully thoughtful, the installations explore the interconnected relations between faith, history, displacement, learning, and archives—themes that feel more relevant than ever and that are woven into Waddesdon Manor’s own fabric and existence.

Edmund de Waal, the night office, 2022, installation view, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, England © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Chris Lacey

Edmund de Waal, muet I, II, and III, all 2021, installation view, Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Christophe Dellière © MAD, Paris

Closed

Edmund de Waal
Lettres à Camondo

October 7, 2021–May 15, 2022
Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris
madparis.fr

This exhibition, titled in French after Edmund de Waal’s recently published book Letters to Camondo, is designed as an intimate dialogue between de Waal’s works and the historic furnishings held in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, former residence of Count Moïse de Camondo, whose family’s tragic history is recounted in de Waal’s epistolary novel. De Waal presents new installations made especially for the museum’s rooms and collections, which have remained unaltered since 1936.

Edmund de Waal, muet I, II, and III, all 2021, installation view, Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Christophe Dellière © MAD, Paris

Installation view, The Hare with Amber Eyes, Jewish Museum, New York, November 19, 2021–May 15, 2022. Photo: Iwan Baan

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The Hare with Amber Eyes

November 19, 2021–May 15, 2022
Jewish Museum, New York
thejewishmuseum.org

The Hare with Amber Eyes tells the story of the Ephrussi family, celebrated in the best-selling memoir of the same name by Edmund de Waal, and showcases the breadth and depth of their illustrious collection. The exhibition explores the family’s rise to prominence and splendor in the first half of the nineteenth century, the life of the prolific collector and historian of art Charles Ephrussi (1849–1905), the interwar years, and finally World War II, when the family lost its fortune and collection to Nazi looting.

Installation view, The Hare with Amber Eyes, Jewish Museum, New York, November 19, 2021–May 15, 2022. Photo: Iwan Baan

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Press

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