Sunday, 23 February 2014

EDMUND DE WAAL – ON WHITE: PORCELAIN STORIES FROM THE FITZWILLIAM

Close up shot of: Edmund de Waal (2012) A Thousand Hours [Porcelain vessels in a pair of aluminium and plexiglass vitrines], 240x210x75cm each.



Walking around the exhibition there is a sense of meditation and interaction between the sublime gestural pieces standing in the subtle and sterile vitrines. Using de Waal’s inherent vernacular of porcelain a conversation is created amongst overlapping contexts across an amalgamation of time, culture and considered curation of Chinese and European porcelain.

Within the vitrines illusionistic shadows and reflections falsify depth and replication, creating new fragile lines of thought and process. De Waal’s obsessive almost mechanical mode of creation and repetition is juxtaposed against the serene subtle silent spaces of the Fitzwilliam museums ceramics collection. Set within monolithic mounds the vulnerability to the pots positioned at the edges of the vitrines are heightened and exposed to the viewer whom rarely looks deep within. The outer edges are in sight, in reach and are therefore the viewer’s easy target.

You are welcome to TOUCH the three porcelain tiles but please DO NOT touch the table

Initially separated and flung a distance the viewer is invited to touch the calm considered and carefully crafted porcelain tiles created by de Waal, however the 1880 mahogany table remains restricted to touch - although temptation lingers. 

1880 Mahogany table with three porcelain tiles by Edmund de Waal.

Set within the Fitzwilliam the atmosphere is glazed literally and physically with continual historical referencing in a material response to a delicate history of porcelain. Overlapping narratives and conversations of ownership are translated in complex exchanges interacting with the surrounding spaces as a place for patient contemplation.

The strong spatial relationships the vitrines hold within de Waal’s re-curated space are furthered by the transparency of the vitrines generating a sense of honesty. There appears to be an invisible thread tying and threading through the Fitzwilliam’s long porcelain halls. Weaving around fractured lines of past scars and stories running along the delicate porcelain collection this exhibition is an intervention where curation overtakes creation.



Close up shots of: Edmund de Waal (2012) A Thousand Hours [Porcelain vessels in a pair of aluminium and plexiglass vitrines], 240x210x75cm each.






Cup and saucer with Meissen Marks (c.1763-1774)  and Teapot imitating Blanc-de-Chine Bow Factory, England (c.1750-1755).

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