In working with the vessel, working with porcelain, and with colors that express the great history of Oriental ceramics, but also the colors of modernism and minimalism; this seems to be enough material to be getting on with." - Edmund de Waal
Edmund de Waal
Atemwende (detail), 2013
302 porcelain vessels, aluminium and plexiglass cabinet
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce new work by Edmund de Waal.
"Atemwende comprises a series of vitrines containing thrown porcelain vessels arranged in specific groupings. From simple pairs of pots to complex multitudes in their hundreds, these minimalist dichotomies in black and white suggest the sequences and patterns of a musical score, while titles cite the poetry of Paul Celan, Wallace Stevens and others. De Waal's art speaks to his enduring fascination with the nature of objects and the attendant history of their collection and display. His poignant memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010) is a family biography whose recurring motif through five generations is a large collection of netsuke. A potter since childhood and an acclaimed writer, de Waal’s studies of the history of ceramics have taken him from ancient Japan to late modernism. Confronting European and Asian traditions of intimate craftsmanship with the scale and sequence of minimalist art and music, his new ensembles evoke at once the delicate measure of Agnes Martin's sublime abstract paintings, and the rhythmic pulses of the music of Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
De Waal's desire to transcend utilitarian pottery was evident in his transition during the 1980s from clay to more refined porcelain, a medium that demands acute focus of mind and eye as well as a swift hand. A new audacity is expressed in the sheer number of pots and their arrangement. Impact is achieved through scale and multiplicity, yet the subtle iterations of the handmade process are maintained."