to light, and then return—: Edmund de Waal and Sally Mann
This book was published on the occasion of to light, and then return—, an exhibition of works by Edmund de Waal and Sally Mann at Gagosian, 976 Madison Avenue, New York. The result of an ongoing exchange of ideas between two artists who are also celebrated writers, this is the first time the two have shown together in a dedicated exhibition. to light, and then return— features Mann’s tintypes of still-life arrangements of old tools and other objects and her platinum prints of tombstone fragments, juxtaposed with de Waal’s sculptural installations of hand-thrown porcelain vessels and other materials arranged in minimalistic vitrines. Inspired by each other’s practices, the artists share a fascination with material transformation and themes of elegy and historical reckoning.
Reproducing the subtle tonalities and textures of de Waal’s sculptures and Mann’s photographs, the book is fully illustrated with plates that pair their work and includes a wide-ranging conversation between the artists about the history and development of these series. Both have an interest in what they refer to as “alchemy”—using protean materials that are not fully controllable to invite creative exploration that accommodates both imperfections and expressivity. Among other topics, they discuss how their art is informed by the history and resonance of objects, ideas, and poetic fragments. The book is available in two different covers; one illustrates Edmund de Waal’s and catch the heart off guard (2022) and the other Sally Mann’s Tintype, Still Life #22 (2020).