Solitude is exacting. I read [the verses] out, wrote them, effaced them, worked on them, trying to find the amount of white space around a poem so that the words emerge. . . . These works are my way of writing on a cave wall.
—Edmund de Waal
Gagosian is pleased to present cold mountain clay, an exhibition of new and recent works by Edmund de Waal.
A potter since childhood and an acclaimed writer, de Waal makes porcelain works that function as repositories of human memory and experience. Drawing equally from Eastern and Western traditions, de Waal’s works blend a minimalist visual language with invocations of the written word, positing the act of collection—of objects, texts, materials, and thoughts—as an artistic form.
The exhibition takes its title from the famed Cold Mountain poems, a series of verses by the monk Hanshan, who, according to legend, lived as a recluse on a Chinese mountaintop during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE). Composed with diaristic frankness and intensity, the poems address the unavoidable passage of time and trace the introspective state that comes with monastic solitude.
Inspired by Hanshan’s practice of writing on rocks, tree trunks, and cave walls—thereby letting the elements erode his verses—de Waal’s new works are made through a cycle of inscription and effacement. He begins by coating a wood panel in liquid kaolin; while the slip is still wet, he floats flecks of gold leaf and writes lines of Hanshan’s poetry in graphite, oil stick, and charcoal. He then brushes these marks with additional layers of slip, repeating the process multiple times to produce a “fugitive poem,” a palimpsest of text that emulates the haze of memory.
Exhibited with this new series will be a selection of wall-mounted and freestanding works, some of which were included in elective affinities, de Waal’s installation at the Frick Collection, New York, in 2019. Made in white or black porcelain, the vessels are arranged alongside elements of gold, alabaster, marble, or steel. Held in space within vitrines, their spatial variations evoke musical scores or poetic stanzas.
De Waal’s installation library of exile is on view at the British Museum in London until January 12, 2021. Originally presented at the Ateneo Veneto in 2019 during the 58th Biennale di Venezia, the library—a porcelain-covered pavilion housing more than two thousand books by exiled authors throughout history—traveled to the Japanisches Palais in Dresden, Germany, later the same year.
高古軒欣然呈獻「寒山黏土」展覽，展出艾德蒙‧德瓦爾（Edmund de Waal）的新作及近期作品。
德瓦爾的藝術裝置《流亡圖書館》（library of exile）現於倫敦大英博物館展出，展期至2021年1月12日。這座鋪滿陶瓷的圖書館收藏超過2,000本史上多位流亡作家的著作，最初於2019年第58屆威尼斯雙年展期間在雅典耀科學藝術中心展出，並於同年稍後巡展至德國德累斯頓日本宮。
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.
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.
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: 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: 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.
Cast of Characters
James Lawrence explores how contemporary artists have grappled with the subject of the library.
Extended through January 30, 2021
Edmund de Waal
some winter pots
December 3, 2020–January 30, 2021
Davies Street, London