Helmut Federte. Abstract Matter [Paintings and Ceramics]

The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum presents an exhibition on the work and collections of 17th-century Moroccan and Japanese ceramics of the Swiss painter Helmut Federle. These pieces are placed in dialogue with the Museum’s Islamic art ceramics, both in the Gallery of Islamic Art, part of the permanent collection, and in the Lower Gallery. To accompany this exhibition, we are now launching the second edition of this conversations space. A text by the writer and ceramicist Edmund de Waal, author of the acclaimed book The Hare with Amber Eyes, starts this edition with a look at the importance of chawan bowls, used in the Japanese tea ceremony and collected by Helmut Federle.

Next, three questions are put to the artist relating to his activities as a collector and about the strong sense of abstraction that seems to link his works to the pieces he has been acquiring. His responses lead us, as if by his voice directly, to the way in which he confronts these questions. The publication is brought to a close with a text by Elisabeth von Samsonow on the various aspects of abstraction. Alongside these texts, a selection of the works forming part of this Conversation are reproduced, including paintings by Helmut Federle as well as pieces that form part of his collection and the Founder’s Collection, strengthening the dialogue between the exhibited objects.

Technical information

Edmund de Waal; Elisabeth von Samsonow
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Updated on 16 november 2021

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