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EXHIBITION

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REVIEW

Edmund de Waal At Kettle's Yard, Castle St, Cambridge, until 22 July, and at Mima, Middlesbrough, from 10 August to 11 November

Edmund de Waal's exhibition explores the grouping, containing and placing of his porcelain vessels. The pot itself is not unimportant - each one, showing marks of his hand or tool, has the character to stand alone - but grouped together they are more than the sum of their parts.

De Waal uses his craft to make you think about the beauty of ceramics and how you engage with everyday domestic objects (plates, jars and bottles) at home.

Although you are forced, either through the physical placing of the pots or their narrative titles, to look at the works in a certain way, you can nonetheless ponder and dream.

In Attic, pots are crammed up above, as if waiting to be rediscovered on a rainy day; in A Change in the Weather, 365 gorgeous multi-hued, cloud-coloured thumb pots are lined up like spice jars, suggesting the vagaries of the British weather.

In contrast to the formality of the gallery, the works in the house appear more relaxed, casually displacing the familiar Jim Ede objects. Pots are squeezed into bookshelves and placed on furniture and shelves, mixing the expected with surprise.

This exhibition is a delight but that said, I do find the gallery works slightly uncomfortable. They are too knowing, with too much deference to the aesthetics of the likes of Donald Judd. These beautiful pots can stand easily on their own.

Sarah Jackson is head of design review at CABE

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