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PERDENDOSI, a collaboration between Norman McBeath and Edmund de Waal at the Fine Art Society in Edinburgh

The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh is currently showing a collaboration, Perdendosi, between the photographer and printmaker Norman McBeath and artist, master potter and author Edmund de Waal.

The title, Perdendosi, is a musical term meaning to gradually die away. The photographs are a study of leaves at the held, drawn-out stage of their metamorphosis, where they are poised on the cusp of decay and eventual disintegration. During this time, they take on extraordinary shapes as they slowly dry, giving each leaf a unique identity and character. They are at a stage when they are leached of all colour, more like parchment than plant, on the edge of crumbling into the ground and vanishing for good. This study takes them up and gives them an attention, so that they are seen in their own right – like a final Act. In this way Perdendosi offers familiar subjects of study, freighted with associations and symbolism, giving each viewer the opportunity to make their own interpretations. 

 Edmund de Waal offers his own train of thought and associations in his accompanying text Twelve Leaves, which he describes as both autobiography and a journal of reading. This is a uniquely personal, oblique and moving text, in which he draws from poets including Proust, Goethe and Celan in exploring his own emotional response, stimulated by living with these extraordinary images. 

‘leaves hold the idea of holding on …

I think that as I get older I realise that this is hard, that

leaves segue into the act of leaving.’

Edmund de Waal, Twelve Leaves, 2021

Perdendosi is produced in a limited edition of twenty-five and presented in a solander box with silver gilt title, signed by both artists.

The photographs in the exhibition can be seen here:

The exhibition runs from 14th January - 18th February, 2022.

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