The Fitzwilliam Museum has given over four of its galleries to celebrated potter (and Cambridge graduate), Edmund de Waal, author of the bestselling Hare with the Amber Eyes (2010).
De Waal is not so much a potter as a ceramic artist. His career has led him away from the making of simple, functional pots towards the creation of ambitious installations such as those at the Fitzwilliam Museum – assemblies which can comprise hundreds or thousands of individual pots or ceramic items.
The Fitzwilliam installations are actually two separate pieces: one, recently shown at the Alan Cristea gallery in London and called a thousand hours (which de Waal talks about in the video, above), is a series of hundreds of hundreds of porcelain vessels in two vitrines; the other, commissioned for the Fitzwilliam’s Chinese galleries, is called yourself, you and is similarly multiple pots inside a pair of displays.
In addition to his own installations, de Waal has re-curated porcelain objects from the museum’s permanent collection, setting them alongside objects (letters, notebooks, porcelain) from his recent residence in China, all in exploration, according to de Waal, of the idea and history of white.
You can see the de Waal exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum on Trumpington Street from Friday 29th November until Sunday 23rd February. Entrance, as ever, is free.