Edmund de Waal interview (part III)

The third and final part1 of the notes from the EdmundDeWaal interview. Download the mp3 by clicking here – EdW.mp3 (30 min / 18Mb)*.

On the relationship between the hand and the mind:

JT: It occurred to me when you mentioned earlier that you put the imprint of the palm of your hand or you pinch the porcelain, whether that was one way of saying ‘I know that this pot is going to come out different and this is my way of establishing my difference. I know it’s not going to be perfect so I’m going to make it imperfect from the beginning.’ Is there an element of that?

EdW: There is an element of that. I’m torn. I’m torn always between making an object that has the kind of purity of a Donald Judd box that has the sense of efacement of the hand, where you can’t see where the hand has been, but I love the gesture as well; the movement into an object that you can get with porcelain. I think recently with some of the series of works that I’ve done … I’ve tried to have that sense of both clarity and movement going on between the different pieces. So that you’ve got the sense of how the hand works in different ways during the series.

JT: When you make a series, are you aware of the previous ones that you’ve made and do you think, ‘now I need to get a bit of dynamique into this set of shapes and do it slightly differently’ ?

EdW: Absolutely. The series is very, very carefully planned. In fact, I suppose my work goes in between (my emphasis) a lot of reading, a lot of writing, a lot of thinking, a lot of planning and then quite a lot of quick, dynamique making. So it’s an odd process.

On the relationship between inspiration for working methods and the finished product:

EdW: They are not cerebral pots when you pick them up, they are not cerebral pots when you touch them. There might be any amount of stuff going around for me. But I think when you look at them I don’t think you need to read the title, I don’t think you need to read my foot notes, you don’t need to have read the books I’ve done or the exhibitions I’ve curated. I think they sit there in the world, by themselves and stand or fall on your reaction to them as works of art and I don’t think they’re cerebral objects at all. I don’t think they’ve been made in a cerebral way, I just have a rather complicated way of getting myself to the wheel.

  1. see part I and part II for previous notes

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