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Edmund de Waal

Benjamin and Brecht. Thinking in Extremes (group show)
Akademie der Künste, Berlin
26 October 2017 - 28 January 2018

Edmund de Waal, casualty list, 2017. Photo: Mike Bruce.
Edmund de Waal, casualty list, 2017. Photo: Mike Bruce.

With their very different backgrounds and influences, the relationship between the critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) and the writer Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) was an unusual one. They came to know each other personally during the years of the Weimar Republic, discussing fundamental issues in art and politics in a way that is excitingly provocative and raises questions still relevant today. During their years of exile, they became trusted friends.

The exhibition shows the topicality of this friendship, the historically documented aspects, the resonances from friends and enemies, and moments of reception in ideas and art. Starting from their close personal relationship, this exhibition responds to Benjamin’s and Brecht’s names becoming ciphers, models for art and a particular view of the world.

The exhibit includes a number of unfamiliar original items: Brecht’s chess board and a Chinese figure of Lao Tsu, manuscripts of poems, diary entries, letters and photos – key documents illustrating the pivotal and conflictual points in this relationship. The historical material is supplemented by original film and audio documents, as well as recordings of early Brecht productions. A series of art works comment on events from present perspectives. Confirmed participants include Zoe Beloff, Adam Broomberg / Oliver Chanarin, Edmund de Waal, Felix Martin Furtwängler, Friederike Heller, Alexander Kluge, Mark Lammert, Jonas Maron, Marcus Steinweg and Steffen Thiemann.

Akademie der Künste, Berlin


Additional:

Edmund de Waal

– one way or other – (solo show)
Schindler House, Los Angeles
15 September 2018 – 6 January 2019

This autumn, de Waal’s first architectural intervention in America will be held at the Schindler House: a landmark of West Coast Modernism, built in 1922 in West Hollywood by Viennese émigré architect, Rudolph Schindler. Conceived as a modular, changeable live-work building for two families, it became a site of forward-thinking aesthetic, cultural and political activity, frequented by architects, dancers and artists from Frank Lloyd Wright to John Cage.

For de Waal, the Schindler House 'is an idea about beginnings. It stands as an attempt to create a place for both cooperative living and cooperative practice, to reset the conditions in which a modern family could live and experiment...The last decades of travelling to Vienna have made me think of what it might mean to be an émigré and build a house, to question what you bring with you when you start again so definitively.’ The exhibition will include recent works which respond directly to the materials and spaces of the house, and a sound piece conceived with the composer, Simon Fisher Turner, 'a layered memory soundscape of Vienna through its Raumplan, its volumes’.

Edmund de Waal Website


Edmund de Waal

white island (solo show)
MACE - Museu d'Art Contemporani d'Eivissa, Ibiza
8 June - 16 September 2018

Edmund de Waal, white island, II, 2018 © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce
Edmund de Waal, white island, II, 2018 © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

This summer, MACE is holding de Waal's first exhibition in Spain. "This is the white island", says de Waal: "the white of the salt flats, the foam breaking in the breeze. The white of the rock. The white haze." A place of transition and exchange, the artist has worked closely with the museum to create a special exhibition of recent white works - "sculptures made for strong light" - alongside new installations, combining Paros marble, alabaster and Ibizan salt with his porcelain for the first time.

Website of Edmund de Waal