Catalogue Essay

casualty list

Academy of Arts, Berlin, 2017

Edmund De Waal Book Archive 245 Web

In 2017, the Academy of Arts in Berlin presented an exhibition examining the relationship between the critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) and the writer Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956). The exhibition included a number of contemporary artworks, including de Waal's casualty list from 2017, and this essay about the work appeared in the catalogue.

Catalogue Essay

During the Night

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2016

Edmund De Waal Book Archive 069 Web

This essay was included in the catalogue for Edmund de Waal's curated exhibition, During the Night, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Inspired by an encounter with a drawing of a nightmare by Albrecht Dürer, the exhibition explored themes of anxiety, the fear of the unknown and what terrors can be found after dark.

Exhibition Text


Turner Contemporary, Margate, 2014

Edmund De Waal Book Archive 080 Web

This wall text accompanied the piece Atmosphere, which was commissioned specially for the Sunley Gallery at Turner Contemporary, Margate, overlooking the North Sea, and was a response to the changing landscape and clouds viewed from the gallery and the architecture of the space.


a local history

University of Cambridge, Permanent installation

Edw 03

a local history is an installation of three vitrines filled with porcelain, sunk below the paving outside the Alison Richard Building on the Sidgwick Site of Cambridge University. These vitrines are meant to be discovered, to be happened upon as you come and go across the site. This essay was included in the accompanying pamphlet.

Exhibition Text


Theseus Temple, Vienna, 2014

Lichtzwang 2014 Install Shot 2

In response to an invitation by the Kunsthistoriches Museum, Edmund de Waal created a piece to hang in the Theseus Temple, Vienna. The vessels are placed like words on a page, or people passing through a building, held only by 'Lichtzwang' - the pressure, force, compulsion of light. This text accompanied the exhibition.


You take an object from your pocket

Phaidon monograph, 2014

Edmund De Waal Book Archive 148 Web

In 2014 Phaidon published the most comprehensive survey of Edmund de Waal's career to date. The monograph features texts by Emma Crichton-Miller, AS Byatt, Colm Toibin and Peter Carey, as well as this essay by de Waal.

Catalogue Essay

On White: Porcelain stories from the Fitzwilliam

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2013

Yourself You Five Vitrine View Edit

On White: Porcelain Stories from the Fitzwilliam Museum explores the story of obsession with porcelain. For this exhibition Edmund de Waal has re-curated displays of the museum's permanent collection with poetry, hidden letters, photographs and objects from his residency in Jingdezhen, China, alongside installations of de Waal's own porcelain. This essay was included in the accompanying pamphlet.

Catalogue Essay

Something else, somewhere other

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, 2012

Edmund De Waal Book Archive 094 Web

For this 2012 exhibition, Edmund de Waal created a new series of pieces inspired by the collections and interiors at Waddesdon. Some of these installations relate to spectacular pieces of furniture, or echo the formal groupings of objects in 18th-century interiors. Others take on ideas of collecting itself. This essay explores the process behind the exhibition.