Edmund de Waal
that pause of space, 2019
Porcelain, gold, alabaster, aluminum, and plexiglass
© Edmund de Waal. Courtesy the artist and The Frick Collection. Photo: Christopher Burke
This is the vitrine that I've made for the North Hall. You've got that incredible picture by Ingres of the Comtesse d’Haussonville above you. You've got the Gouthière table, one of the most extraordinary pieces of gilding in the world, with a blue Turquin marble top to it. It's absolutely exquisite. So what do you make for that particular space with that particular light? This is it. It's a steel vitrine, gilded—it floats above Gouthière's table. There's a piece of alabaster floating within it. I've gilded underneath the alabaster, so there's a kind of golden stain, an aura that goes down towards the table top. And then, eight porcelain vessels, unglazed, apart from these two single, beautiful blue—they are beautiful, really beautiful—celadon ones. Unglazed porcelain fired incredibly high in the kiln. And then leaning amongst them, these shards of porcelain, very very thin, gilded, so that there are golden reflections, a matrix of golden reflections coming and going within the piece.
It's really simple. It's a garniture. A garniture is a formal arrangement of porcelain you'd find in any 18th century house. And I've deranged it and rearranged it to make this austere and I hope beautiful new sculpture for that particular place.