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Edmund de Waal and other news from the Venice Biennale, Elizabeth Macneal

Potter and author Edmund de Waal with his project, Psalm, at the Venice Biennale. Elizabeth Macneal on her first novel The Doll Factory and her other career - she's a potter too.

On the night of 18th April, 2015 a 90-foot fishing boat packed with migrants sent out a distress signal. It collided with a vessel responding to that call and sank between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa. Between 770 and 1,100 people drowned. Now the wreck has been raised and installed at the Arsenale, the historical naval yards in Venice - as an art work. Tim Marlow, director of exhibitions at the Royal Academy, considers the controversy surrounding this, and discusses with John Wilson other works that have drawn his attention at the Biennale.

Elizabeth Macneal’s debut novel The Doll Factory, the subject of a bidding war between publishers, is the story of a young woman who finds herself part of the circle around the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The author was also inspired by her fascination with the Victorian taste for collecting. She talks to Front Row about creating a character in charge of her own destiny, about the book’s success - and about her other career, being a potter.

At the Venice Biennale, the British artist and author Edmund de Waal introduces us to his two-part project, Psalm, which opened this week at different venues. At the 16th-century Ateneo Veneto he has created a Library of Exile made of porcelain which holds almost 2000 books by exiled writers, from Ovid to the present day. To the north of the island, at the Jewish Museum, he’s installed a series of porcelain, marble and gold works that reflect the literary and musical heritage of the 500-year-old Ghetto.

Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Julian May

Available now

28 minutes

Edmund de Waal - Psalm

Edmund de Waal - Psalm
Edmund de Waal
and John Wilson

Psalm is at the Jewish Museum and the Ateneo Veneto in Venice until 29 Sept and at the British Museum from
Feb 2020

Main image: Edmund de Waal in his Library of Exile

Elizabeth Macneal

Elizabeth Macneal
The Doll Factory is out now and begins on Radio 4 on 14 May at 1204 hrs

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