library of exile (installation view)2019
library of exile
Japanisches Palais, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden
30 November 2019 - 16 February 2020
In library of exile, Edmund de Waal acknowledges the work of writers who have been forced to migrate between cultures and languages. The library includes over 2,000 works by exiled authors, translated into a wide range of languages. The library’s outer walls are covered in porcelain applied in liquid form, onto which a list of lost and erased libraries has been written. Visitors are encouraged to sit and read the books, to write their name in a book plate, or leave a record of their personal history of exile and migration in the book of exile. The installation was first show in psalm, a two-part exhibition coinciding with the 2019 Venice Biennale.
A full catalogue of the library's holdings is linked below.
Also part of the exhibition is a collection of 18 Meissen plates from the von Klemperer Collection. The plates, from a Meissener table service dating back to 1760, are haunting testimonies of displacement and loss, as well as restitution and reconciliation. They are part of the estate of the Jewish von Klemperer family, who fled from Dresden in 1938 and whose collection was confiscated and handed over to the Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection). The plates suffered extensive damage during the bombing in 1945. After the war, some complete pieces and numerous shards were discovered and eventually returned to the family. Edmund de Waal bought the plates at auction, and invited Japanese artist Maiko Tsutsumi to reassemble them using the traditional Kintsugi method of mending with gold lacquer.
Photography: Oliver Killig, Hélène Binet
Meissen plates from the von Klemperer Collection (installation view)2019