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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

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, Sarah Nemtsov, Marcus Steinweg and Steffen Thiemann.

Akademie der Künste, Berlin


Additional:

Edmund de Waal

Material: Earth (group show)
Messums Wiltshire, Salisbury, Wiltshire
12 March - 1 May 2017

Material: Earth is a major new exhibition celebrating the use of clay in contemporary art opening March 12 at Messums Wiltshire.  Featuring work by Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry, Edmund de Waal and other British artists; Material: Earth is the first in a series of three shows exploring the art of making and the use of natural materials in contemporary art.
This exhibition will explore how clay, that most elemental and ancient of materials is increasingly shaping a new aesthetic. It shows how artists have created new forms of art through a complex and fluent merging of past idioms, styles and format.  The exhibition aims to illustrate how since the 1970’s there has been a quiet but steady progression in the use of ceramics away from studio pottery towards the challenging and immersive arena of contemporary art.

Messums Wiltshire, Salisbury, Wiltshire


Edmund de Waal

Artipelag, Stockholm
7 April - 1 October 2017

Edmund de Waal, a new ground III, 2015
Edmund de Waal, a new ground III, 2015

The 7th of April is the opening of Artipelag's major spring and summer exhibition with Edmund de Waal and Giorgio Morandi. Here, contemporary British ceramicist and author Edmund de Waal meets renowned Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, whose oeuvre largely consists of still life paintings of pottery. However it is not ceramics that unites these two artists here, but rather the encouragement of mindful viewing and contemplation.


Artipelag, Stockholm 


Ai Weiwei, Edmund de Waal

Kneaded Knowledge - The Language of Ceramics (group show)
National Gallery, Prague
17 March - 27 August 2017

Edmund de Waal, I speak of nothing else, 2015
Edmund de Waal, I speak of nothing else, 2015

Together with the artists Ai Weiwei and Edmund de Waal, the National Gallery in Prague, focuses on a material long attributed to the realm of handicraft: ceramics. Unjustly so, as this material is founded upon millennia of knowledge and a history of art that was constantly recontextualised by contemporaries.

Some of the earliest artworks were ceramics. The modern age in Europe was characterised by an insatiable desire for Chinese porcelain, that would fetch top prices. Be they containers for everyday use or artworks – from time immemorial ceramics would travel the globe, uniting civilizations that knew only little of each other. Long regarded the world over as high art, this traditional medium had a tough time in the modern age, with ceramic art being put in second place as handicraft.

Today, we are increasingly being confronted with this material as the focus falls on recent Asian art and as artistic practice continues to open up. The exhibition Kneaded Knowledge takes a special look at the changes of a technologically conditioned medium that has challenged our ideas for long periods, from olden times to the modern age.

Two of the outstanding artists who devote great attention to this material, Ai Weiwei and Edmund de Waal, act as curatorial and artistic partners for the show. For Kneaded Knowledge they are joining Peter Pakesch to engage in a dialogue on the handling of ceramics across times and cultures. Their own works also feature in the exhibition – of course alongside prominent references and important historical material.

Works by Ai Weiwei, Edmund de Waal, Lynda Benglis, Alison Britton, Hans Coper, Lucio Fontana, Asger Jorn, Kazimir Malevich, Fausto Melotti, Joan Miró, Isamu Noguchi, Pablo Picasso, Lucie Rie, Marit Tingleff, Peter Voulkos and others


National Gallery, Prague