sub silentio, 2019
Porcelain, steel, and plexiglass
© Edmund de Waal. Courtesy the artist and The Frick Collection. Photo: Christopher Burke
So this is my installation for the Living Hall. It's an extraordinary heart to the house. I mean, you can feel Frick's identification with these incredible portraits of people around him. You feel the power. There's St. Jerome translating the Bible, you've got Cromwell and [Sir Thomas] More, you've got St. Francis. You've got these extraordinary people, often with pieces of paper, and pens, and books in their hands.
And that great Boulle desk, black, heavy desk in the middle of the hall, where you would imagine there might be Renaissance bronzes, and these [installations] take that place of Renaissance bronzes. Those objects of great symbolic, black, powerful patinated power. Five steel grounds—again, you can feel the weight of them. The most beautiful, I have to say, black porcelain vessels—these are the ones I've been putting aside—ones I'm hugely happy with, as the glazes have worked stunningly on these, if I'm allowed to say. And then leaning these thin pieces of steel, so again a feeling almost of industrial steel, trying to find a fulcrum, a place of balance and power. And all held within vitrines because this is about holding something back, which is of course what power is really about.