Saturday 25 March 2017

Edmund De Waal in Leamington Gallery

Edmund de Waal in Leamington Art Gallery.

Stet #14, 2009

A set of 14 cylindrical porcelain pots encased within a long thin cabinet, part of the Journey Through Japan exhibition.

They are all the same, all different, each subtly changing. They vary in height, and in their diameter. In monochrome white and cream glazes, with the addition of one yellow vessel. They are long, thin, thrown at different heights with an additional lip at the opening. They have neither handle nor spout. In the celadon glaze there are 'potash feldspar, dolomite, bone ash, china lay, quartz and talc'.   In the yellow glaze there is 'whiting, flint, talc, dolomite, bentonite and nepheline svenite'. Sometimes there is a fine strip of gold leaf.

This piece is interactive and one is invited to change the order of the pots, which is what I did. Pots are tactile - they need to be touched.

Although the composition of pots is important to the interpretation of De Waal's works, he is interested in the idea of installations that can be changeable. A Stet (Latin for 'let it stand') is an editor's note used for proof reading. It tells the publisher to disregard any former corrections made to a text. Stet #14 conveys the idea that you can do something, make a mark and then it may be changed. It evokes a sense of randomness and enjoyment in the endless rearranging of the vessels.


  1. Except that I found in rearranging them that they looked very little different!