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Artist Spotlight

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.

Launched in 2020, Artist Spotlight is presented once a month as a regular part of the gallery’s programming. Each Artist Spotlight highlights a work by an individual artist—made available exclusively online for forty-eight hours—together with new editorial features and selected archival content.

Artist Spotlight: Edmund de Waal features a new sculpture by the artist. For more information, please contact the gallery at collecting@gagosian.com.

Photo: Tom Jamieson

Photo: Tom Jamieson

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.

Related News

Edmund de Waal’s studio, London, 2014. Artwork © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Hélène Binet

Playlist

Edmund de Waal
In the Studio

On the occasion of his Artist Spotlight, Edmund de Waal has created a playlist of music he listens to in his studio. Ranging in genre from contemporary classical to rock, electronic, and African folk, the selection features composers and musicians such as Philip Glass, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, and Michael Kiwanuka. The twenty-three tracks are synthy, expansive, rhythmically hypnotic, or just generally dreamy—sharing a meditative quality with de Waal’s visual artwork.

Listen Now

Edmund de Waal’s studio, London, 2014. Artwork © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Hélène Binet

Still from “Edmund de Waal Introduces ‘Letters to Camondo’”

Video

Edmund de Waal Introduces “Letters to Camondo”

In this video, Edmund de Waal introduces his new book, Letters to Camondo (2021). The book consists of a sequence of haunting imaginary letters from de Waal to Count Moïse de Camondo, the owner of a Parisian palace turned into a memorial for his son, who died in World War I. The Camondo family lived a few doors away from de Waal’s forebears, the Ephrussis. Both families were collectors and part of Belle Époque Parisian high society. Both were also targets of antisemitism. De Waal describes the particular resonance of this home, now the Musée Nissim de Camondo, as a “house for a lost family” and discusses his need to write this story.

Still from “Edmund de Waal Introduces ‘Letters to Camondo’”

Edmund de Waal, Der Hase mit den Bernsteinaugen (Vienna: echo media buchverlag | echo medienhaus ges.m.b.h., 2021)

Initiative

Edmund de Waal: The Hare with Amber Eyes
Eine STADT. Ein BUCH.

In November 2021, 100,000 copies of Der Hase mit den Bernsteinaugen, the German edition of Edmund de Waal’s family memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), will be given away across Vienna as part of Eine STADT. Ein BUCH (One City. One Book). The initiative, where one book is selected, printed, and distributed for free, began in 2002 and takes place in Vienna every year.

Edmund de Waal, Der Hase mit den Bernsteinaugen (Vienna: echo media buchverlag | echo medienhaus ges.m.b.h., 2021)

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Museum Exhibitions

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

On View

Edmund de Waal
Lettres à Camondo

Through 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 will present 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

Recumbent hare with raised forepaw, signed Masatoshi, c. 1880, De Waal Family Collection

On View

The Hare with Amber Eyes

Through 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.

Recumbent hare with raised forepaw, signed Masatoshi, c. 1880, De Waal Family Collection

Edmund de Waal, sukkah, 2019, installation view, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, England © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Alzbeta Jaresova

On View

Edmund de Waal
sukkah

Opened March 27, 2021
Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, England
www.canterbury-cathedral.org

Edmund de Waal’s sukkah (2019), originally created for a synagogue in the Venetian Ghetto as part of his installation psalm, is currently on loan to Canterbury Cathedral. Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles, is the festival that commemorates the forty years of wandering in the desert. The work comprises nine towers that appear to float above a table, each tower containing tall white porcelain vessels and leaning pieces of gilded steel that catch the light from the medieval stained-glass windows.

Edmund de Waal, sukkah, 2019, installation view, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, England © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Alzbeta Jaresova

Installation view, This Living Hand: Edmund de Waal Presents Henry Moore, Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Perry Green, England, May 19–October 31, 2021. Artwork, left and right: © Edmund de Waal; center left and center right: reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation. Photo: Alzbeta Jaresova

Closed

This Living Hand
Edmund de Waal Presents Henry Moore

May 19–October 31, 2021
Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Perry Green, England
www.henry-moore.org

Curated by Edmund de Waal, this exhibition explores the role of touch and the iconography of the hand in Henry Moore’s art. Moore believed that “tactile experience is very important as an aesthetic dimension in sculpture.” Original carved benches by de Waal, as well as a group of Moore’s drawings and sculptural works charting his interest in the hand as a subject, are included.

Installation view, This Living Hand: Edmund de Waal Presents Henry Moore, Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Perry Green, England, May 19–October 31, 2021. Artwork, left and right: © Edmund de Waal; center left and center right: reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation. Photo: Alzbeta Jaresova

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