在我的雷达上: Edmund de Waal’s cultural highlights

orn in Nottingham in 1964, Edmund de Waal is an artist, master potter and the author of The Hare with Amber Eyes, which won the Costa prize for biography in 2010. He became keenly interested in ceramics at an early age and his second book, The White Road, follows his journey through the history of porcelain, back to its origins in China. De Waal’s latest book, Letters to Camondo, is a sequence of imagined letters to a Parisian collector of beautiful objects. It’s the basis for his new show, Lettres à Camondo, at Musée Nissim de Camondo, 巴黎, until 15 可能 2022.

Theaster Gates: A Clay Sermon, Whitechapel Gallery, 伦敦

Theaster Gates is a terrific American artist, potter and activist. He is the great radical voice in international ceramics, who has reclaimed bits of ignored culture, particularly African American culture, and brought it fully, polyphonically back into people’s consciousness. His biggest London exhibition so far has just opened at the Whitechapel Gallery. It’s a kind of autobiography told through some of his favourite ceramic objects, 包括, most powerfully, a great jar that was made by an enslaved African American potter in the middle of the 19th century, alongside Gates’s own work. As the title suggests, it’s a great preaching. A revivalist meeting for ceramics.

Poems 1962-2020 by Louise Glück

I’ve been waiting for this book for a very long time. Louise Glück is such a remarkable poet. She won the Nobel prize last year, which was tremendous, because she’s been a beloved voice in American poetry, but bizarrely not known elsewhere in the world as much as she should have been. The great thing about her work is that it feels idiomatic, it doesn’t feel precious. This is her collected poems and it gives you nearly 60 years of poetry – a whole life. You feel this person’s growth into the world and into language. It’s also the most beautifully produced book of poems that I have seen in decades.

Max Richter at the South Facing festival

My wife, daughter and I went to our first outdoor concert a few weeks ago in Crystal Palace to hear Max Richter’s new work, Voices, which is an extraordinary piece written around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s both spoken and sung and it has the actual declaration read in lots of languages throughout the performance. It’s very powerful, very moving and the evening itself was beautiful. There were hundreds of people and this feeling of being at last, 再次, part of something much bigger than us. And the stars came out. It was a really perfect evening.

V&A Cast Courts

The V&A Cast Courts are one of the most extraordinary hidden treasures of London. It’s free to go, you can walk into these vast spaces, the biggest in the V&一种. They were created at the end of the 19th century to house plaster casts of Trajan’s column, Romanesque churches, bits of a Greek temple and Syrian mosques. It’s a sort of cultural pandemonium, but it’s glorious. And incredibly prescient, because these are replicas of objects that are elsewhere and in the past 20 years we’ve all been trying to work out how to rebuild broken and destroyed bits of culture. It also contains the most romantic place in London: two people can step inside Trajan’s column. So if you want to meet someone, meet them there.

Yield: The Journal of an Artist by Anne Truitt

Anne Truitt was an American artist who died in 2004. Throughout her life, she kept journals that record what it’s like to be an artist who is trying to bring up a family, unrecognised, struggling to find the money for materials, anxious about how to present herself to the world, completely floored by the necessity to make the next thing. They are some of the most powerful personal records of what it is to be an artist in the 20th century. Three of the volumes have been published already and the final, posthumous volume, Yield, is being published next February. I’ve seen a proof and it’s extraordinary.

English PEN

English PEN is 100 years old this year. 这是 great advocacy group for supporting writers in appalling situations and campaigning for human rights and free speech around the world. Its website is a great resource for translation materials, for pointing people to writers in exile and how you can read and research particular bodies of work. There was a great weekend at the Southbank Centre last month, which brought together lots of writers, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tsitsi Dangarembga and Elif Shafak. PEN needs us; we need PEN.

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