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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

library of exile (group show)
Japanisches Palais, Dresden
29 November 2019 – 16 February 2020

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

The exhibition is named after Edmund de Waal’s library of exile installation, now on display in Dresden following its first stop in Venice. The library holds over 2,000 books, often in translation, by authors from ancient times until the present day, who were exiled from their homes. It reflects ideas of migration, exile and of conversation in many different languages.

In the exhibition, library of exile is accompanied by two other extensive installations and the hand-crafted Damascus Room. They look at different aspects of the fundamental questions of home, homelessness and memory, life between cultures and hospitality.

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden


Edmund de Waal

im Goldhaus
Porcelain Collection, Zwinger, Dresden
28 September 2019 – January 2020

Edmund de Waal, im Goldhaus, 2019. © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce
Edmund de Waal, im Goldhaus, 2019. © Edmund de Waal. Photo: Mike Bruce

On 28th September, de Waal unveiled a new installation made especially for the Porcelain Collection of the SKD Museums in Dresden.

"im Goldhaus" (2019) was commissioned by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) for their permanent collection to mark 300 years since the death of the German alchemist, Johann Friedrich Böttger.

Titled after the laboratory of Augustus II the Strong, the Goldhaus am Zwinger was a place of alchemy; a testing-ground for research into minerals and ores, where Böttger and E. W. von Tschirnhaus conducted their experiments leading to the invention of European porcelain. "I have an image of a laboratory bench in the Goldhaus," de Waal writes, "a place of enquiry and possibility... It is a vitrine which allows me to think through philosophy, optics, burnished mirrors, white porcelain, honed marble, gold and light…a floating installation through which you can see through towards Böttger or the menagerie or a Meissen dinner service. It is a sculpture of beginnings."

"im Goldhaus" will be on display in the Porcelain Collection until Jan 2020 when it will be relocated elsewhere in the SKD museums.

Edmund de Waal Studio