Held between two aluminium shelves are sixty-two enchanting porcelain vessels by British artist Edmund de Waal, and glazed in black and grey, A short history of the shadow, 2010, is beguiling. Currently the subject of a solo presentation at The Frick Collection, New York, de Waal began an apprenticeship to study pottery in 1981. His education continued after he moved to Japan, where he immersed himself in the country’s culture. In Tokyo, his ceramics developed their characteristic unadorned elegance; the pottery personifies the artist’s own multicultural inheritance which blends together English, Japanese and European traditions into sublime forms. Ultimately, de Waal is fascinated by the material transformation that occurs when clay becomes a pot or a vase: ‘[Porcelain] is an inscrutable material,’ he reflected, ‘in the sense that it comes from earth but seems to aspire to something else. It seems closer to glass – closer to air – than the earth. So to me it’s utterly about a moment of alchemical change… [It] has an otherness, an elsewhere-ness, about it – it has come a long way, it’s part of a trajectory of a thousand years, and has mystery and mystique and all that stuff within it. There is no moment when porcelain ever becomes ordinary. It is always “best”’ (E. de Waal quoted in A. Sooke, ‘Edmund de Waal: potter, writer, alchemist’, The Telegraph, 22 September 2015, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/edmund-de-waal-interview/). This year, de Waal’s two-part exhibition Psalm is on view at the Jewish Museum and the Ateneo Veneto in Venice as part of the 58th Venice Biennale; the exhibition will then travel to Germany and Britain.