Extended through January 30, 2021
Gagosian is pleased to present 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.
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.
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: 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: 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.
Edmund de Waal
October 27–November 2, 2021
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. Much of his practice is concerned with collecting and collections—how objects are brought together and dispersed—and with the application of craft and placement to the physical and conceptual transformation of interior space. Manifest across his work is a distinct aesthetic philosophy that puts the hand, touch, and thus the human above all else.
Photo: Tom Jamieson