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Edmund de Waal

psalm (solo show)
To coincide with the 58th Venice Biennale
Canton Scuola Synagogue / Ateneo Veneto, Venice
8 May - 29 September 2019

Edmund de Waal, the library of exile, 2019, Ateneo Veneto, Venice © Edmund de Waal. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Fulvio Orsenigo
Edmund de Waal, the library of exile, 2019, Ateneo Veneto, Venice © Edmund de Waal. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Fulvio Orsenigo

Edmund de Waal is creating a major new two-part exhibition to be displayed in the 500-year-old Jewish Ghetto in Venice, coinciding with the opening of the 58th Biennale.

The first part is located in the spaces surrounding the Canton Scuola, the beautiful 16th century synagogue in the Ghetto Nuovo, which is now part of the Jewish Museum.

New installations of porcelain, marble and gold will reflect the literary and musical heritage of this extraordinary place. The intention is to animate spaces that are little known and little understood by visitors to the Biennale and to bring new audiences into the Ghetto.

The second part of the work will be a pavilion based at the Ateneo Veneto, the fifteenth-century building near the Fenice Opera House that has been an historic centre for cultural debate in Venice. Here, de Waal is constructing a small building within the main space that will house 2,000 books by exiled writers, from Ovid to the present day.

Edmund de Waal said: “This is the project I have always dreamed of doing. It is about exile – what it means to have to move to another country, to speak another language. It brings new installations based on the Psalms, the poetry of exile, into some of the most beautiful spaces of the Ghetto, the first time some of these spaces have been used for contemporary art. And my library for the Ateneo – two thousand books within a porcelain-covered pavilion – will be the most significant sculpture of my life. It will be a new library reflecting Venice’s thousand years as a place of translation, a space to sit and read and be.”

Edmund de Waal website

Museo Ebraico, Venice


Additional:

Edmund de Waal

Elective Affinities: Edmund de Waal at the Frick Collection (solo show)
The Frick Collection, New York
30 May - 17 November 2019

Edmund de Waal, noontime and dawntime, 2019. On view in the West Gallery, The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Christopher Burke
Edmund de Waal, noontime and dawntime, 2019. On view in the West Gallery, The Frick Collection, New York. Photo: Christopher Burke

The Frick Collection will present a temporary installation of sculptures by acclaimed author and ceramist Edmund de Waal. Site-specific works made of porcelain, steel, gold, marble, and glass will be displayed in the museum's main galleries alongside works from the permanent collection.

De Waal is known for his installations of porcelain vessels housed in minimal structures, often created in response to collections and archives or the history of a specific place. Past sites have included Waddesdon Manor and the Chatsworth house — this project marks his first such installation in the United States.

The Frick Collection, New York


Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal - 2019 Kirker Lecture - The Ghetto of Venice (lecture)
The Royal Geographical Society, London
14 May 2019

Edmund de Waal, the library of exile, 2019, Ateneo Veneto, Venice. Photo: Fulvio Orsenigo © Edmund de Waal. Courtesy of the artist
Edmund de Waal, the library of exile, 2019, Ateneo Veneto, Venice. Photo: Fulvio Orsenigo © Edmund de Waal. Courtesy of the artist

This year's Kirker Lecture coincides with the unveiling of Edmund de Waal's major work for the Ghetto in Venice during the preview week of the Venice Biennale opening on 7 May. The exhibition is called psalm and will be in two parts. The first is located in the Canton Scuola, the beautiful 16th century synagogue in the Ghetto Nuovo, which is now part of the Jewish Museum. The second part of the work will be a pavilion installed in the 15th century building of the Ateneo Veneto, historically a centre for cultural debate in Venice.

Drawing on the themes of his psalm project - the poetry of exile, the co-existence of different communities and languages and the history of translation in Venice over the course of a thousand years, Edmund de Waal will consider the rich heritage of the Ghetto as a place of exchange in many different senses.

The psalm project will include a programme of events to bring the Ghetto into the heart of the Biennale and to bring new audiences into interiors like the sukkah shown here. This was originally an outside shelter whose metal roof structure survives and would have been hung with foliage and fruit to celebrate the sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.

Venice in Peril