Exhibitions
Current exhibition

library of exile (temporarily closed)

Room 2, British Museum, London
12 March - 8 September 2020

British Museum Interior 001 1

A hymn to writers in exile — The Economist

From Venice, to Dresden and now London, Edmund de Waal’s library of exile makes its final stop at the British Museum.

A hymn to writers in exile — The Economist

From Venice, to Dresden and now London, Edmund de Waal’s library of exile makes its final stop at the British Museum.

A temporary pavilion, designed as a place of dialogue and contemplation, where visitors are encouraged to sit and read a collection of over 2,000 books by writers who have experienced exile from across the world. Almost all the books are translations, exploring the idea of language as migration. The library is free to visit and can also be explored via an online catalogue libraryofexile.com.

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Forthcoming exhibition

This Living Hand (new dates)

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Perry Green
31 March - 31 October 2021

41 Lh 707 Hands

A new exhibition of Henry Moore's work, curated by de Waal for the Henry Moore Foundation, opening Spring 2020. This Living Hand will explore the role of touch and the iconography of the hand in Henry Moore’s art.

A new exhibition of Henry Moore's work, curated by de Waal for the Henry Moore Foundation, opening Spring 2020. This Living Hand will explore the role of touch and the iconography of the hand in Henry Moore’s art.

In the exhibition, de Waal will present a selection of original sculptures and other objects by Moore which visitors will be invited to touch, as well as a group of drawings and sculptural works charting Moore’s interest in the hand as a subject, from Reclining Figure: Hand (1979) to the numerous two and three-dimensional studies of his own and other subjects’ hands – including the drawings and lithographs he made in 1978 of the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Dorothy Hodgkin, who wanted her hands to be used as her portrait.

Photo: Gemma Levine. Reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation.

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Current project

library of exile catalogue

Online catalogue

Edmund De Waal Psalm Venice 02

The library of exile is now housed at the British Museum, London. The library has its own online catalogue which is continually updated with new titles. Explore and search the holdings by language, author, category or country on its dedicated website here.

Current exhibition

The Ephrussis: Travel in Time (temporarily closed)

Jewish Museum, Vienna

6 November 2019–8 March 2020

Hare Netsuke C 1880

The Ephrussi Family Archive, donated to the Jewish Museum by the de Waal family, will go on display in this special exhibition along with 157 netsuke from Edmund de Waal's collection.

Past News

Elective Affinities

The Frick Collection, New York
30 May – 17 November 2019

Temporary installation of new work at The Frick Collection, its first ever exhibition of a contemporary artist in the permanent galleries.

Temporary installation of new work at The Frick Collection, its first ever exhibition of a contemporary artist in the permanent galleries.

For this unique opportunity, de Waal has created a series of site-specific sculptures made of porcelain, steel, gold, marble and glass in response to particular rooms and objects in the collection. These works are displayed in the museum's main galleries alongside works from the permanent collection.

To coincide with the exhibition, the museum will publish the third volume of its Frick Diptych series, pairing an essay by curator Charlotte Vignon with a text by de Waal. Together they will offer fresh insight into a pair of porcelain candelabra by Pierre Gouthière, the French eighteenth-century chaser and gilder.

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a sort of speech

Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
28 September–2 November 2019

An exhibition of new and recent installations at Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, exploring the boundaries between text and sculpture, inspired by the work of the modernist Swiss writer, Robert Walser.

An exhibition of new and recent installations at Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, exploring the boundaries between text and sculpture, inspired by the work of the modernist Swiss writer, Robert Walser.

Walser's literary output is the central inspiration behind de Waal's second solo exhibition in Berlin. Walser’s so-called 'pencil method' - an obsessive form of notation in microscript - allowed him to explore the immersive qualities of writing, something which has long held great significance for de Waal; "I love his writings...the way he made texts. I love his understanding of making as a way of marking time. Text can be sculpture, sculpture a sort of speech".

In response to this idea, de Waal has made a new series of sculptures - free-standing vitrines holding paper-thin sheets of porcelain, embossed with his own handwritten texts, which are leant or stacked like pages of a notebook against vessels or marble fragments. Some hold these porcelain elements without any vessel forms - the first installations of their kind. For the 10m-long wall in the Goethestraße gallery, he has also made his first site-specific text piece for Berlin. Gilded with sheets of gold leaf and overpainted with kaolin slip, de Waal has written into the surface, transcribing his own Walser-inspired texts and microscripts.

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