Edmund de Waal is creating a major new two-part exhibition to be displayed in the 500-year-old Jewish Ghetto in Venice, coinciding with the opening of the 58th Biennale.
The first part is located in the spaces surrounding the Canton Scuola, the beautiful 16th century synagogue in the Ghetto Nuovo, which is now part of the Jewish Museum.
New installations of porcelain, marble and gold will reflect the literary and musical heritage of this extraordinary place. The intention is to animate spaces that are little known and little understood by visitors to the Biennale and to bring new audiences into the Ghetto.
The second part of the work will be a pavilion based at the Ateneo Veneto, the fifteenth-century building near the Fenice Opera House that has been an historic centre for cultural debate in Venice. Here, de Waal is constructing a small building within the main space that will house 2,000 books by exiled writers, from Ovid to the present day.
The 10th anniversary of this “summer camp” for people aged 40 and over, initiated in 2009..
A main part is volunteer clean-up in the vast Jewish cemetery, which with 50,000 graves, is one of the largest preserved Jewish cemeteries in Europe, damaged in some areas and largely neglected. Participants will pull up weeds and undergrowth, clear overgrown paths between the graves and discover forgotten inscriptions on the gravestones.