For breath, Edmund de Waal was invited to work across Ivorypress’s three different spaces: its publishing house, exhibition space and bookshop. At the heart of this project is an Artist’s Book, published by Ivorypress: a project which has spanned many years, looking hard into what books are, how they feel and their presence in the world.
It is a homage to Romanian-born poet Paul Celan, a book about slowing down. To accompany the Artist’s Book, de Waal has made a series of 17 new works, including vitrines, shelves and diptychs conceived as open books, which take inspiration from the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán, the writer Federico García Lorca, and also from Celan. There is porcelain, marble and gilding; there is gold leaf and platinum, acknowledging the silver dishes in Zurbarán’s paintings. There are objects hidden from view and there are repetitions. Alongside these works there is a reading room, a selection of 100 books inviting visitors to sit down and read. The Artist’s Book, the exhibition, and the reading room are conceived as a single project.