Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere / Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent
March 29, 2014 – February 8, 2015
Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere presents a new installation by the renowned ceramic artist and author. De Waal, who grew up in Canterbury and is best known for his large installations of porcelain vessels and the international bestselling book Hare with the Amber Eyes, showcases a major new commission for Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery. This is the third commission produced for the Sunley Gallery following those by Maria Nepomuceno in 2012 and Daniel Buren in 2011.
For this ambitious project the artist has created an installation in response to the space, light and architecture of the Sunley Gallery with its double height windows and spectacular views over the North Sea. Atmosphere (2014) comprises of a series of 9 large, suspended vitrines that are in conversation with the mutable light from the sea.
Suspended at different heights, the lines of the 20-40 vessels within each of the vitrines offer the viewer an array of horizons as they move through the space both on the gallery’s ground floor and from the overlooking balcony. In Atmosphere De Waal brings the changing weather into Turner Contemporary and echoes the ways in which artists as diverse as Gerhard Richter, Hiroshi Sugimoto and JMW Turner have thought about clouds and horizons.
This commission will be accompanied by two other works by the artist. Juxtaposed alongside Atmosphere is Bauspiel, a group of vessels residing on a floor based plinth in a configuration which reflects those in the nearby suspended vitrines. Turner Contemporary’s ground floor corridor is transformed by a new wall-based text installation, which sees De Waal convert the corridor walls into a life-size notebook, drawing on an array of sources from Turner’s letters to the poems of Baudelaire.
Edmund de Waal states: “When thinking about the changing landscape of clouds, I remember Constable’s beautiful letter about lying on his back and doing ‘a great deal of skying’. There is no more extraordinary place to look at the sky than the Sunley Gallery at Turner Contemporary. Atmosphere is my attempt to make a response to this threshold between a building and the air outside. Suspended in the space are nine vitrines holding 200 small celadon and grey porcelain vessels. I hope they will provoke some skying of their own.”
The exhibition coincides with a new monograph, Edmund de Waal published by Phaidon Press and featuring contributions from AS Byatt, Peter Carey, and Colm Toíbín amongst others. Edmund de Waal, which will be released on 5 May 2014, will be the first and only complete survey of the artist’s career to date, weaving together both his literary and ceramic practices.
Edmund de Waal was born in 1964. He studied English at Cambridge University and ceramics in both England and Japan. De Waal is best known for his large scale installations and much of his recent work comes out of a dialogue between minimalism, architecture and music, and is informed by his passion for literature.
De Waal has had major interventions in many museum and public collections around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Waddesdon Manor, Tate Britain and the National Museum of Wales. In September 2013 de Waal opened his first show in New York at the Gagosian Gallery. This was followed by new work for the new Asian Pavilion at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Alongside his major commission for Turner Contemporary in Margate this year, de Waal will be installing a work at the Theseus Temple in Vienna, in collaboration with the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Future projects include working with the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and with David Chipperfield Architects in London.
Edmund is also known as a writer. His book, Hare with the Amber Eyes, published in 2010, has been an international bestseller and won many literary prizes.
Exhibition supporter: Gogosian Gallery.
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00.
Tel. +44(0)1843 233000
Rendezvous, Margate, Kent CT9 1HG
Above: Edmund de Waal atmosphere, 2014, 286 porcelain vessels in 9 aluminium and plexiglass vitrines, Each: 11 ¾ x 118 x 9 ¾ inches (30 x 300 x 25 cm). Overall dimensions variable. © Edmund de Waal. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photo by Stephen White.