Sonnets in Babylon, The Venice Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2014
Some 100 never-before-exhibited drawings by Libeskind, created by hand from pen and sepia-toned washes of coffee, comprise the principal element of the pavilion. The series is screen-printed by Lasvit, the architectural glass-maker, using a ceramic process, on large-scale glass panels and arranged around the curved wall of the pavilion. Using state of the art technology, ribbons of aluminum panels fixed with discreet LED lights will create a luminous wall of light and transparency.
The drawings themselves depict explosive uncouplings of ambiguous forms that alternately evoke favelas, futuristic cities, mechanical parts, and even parts of the human body. Mr. Libeskind extends these forms into the room environment through the diaphanous layering of glass that will create a continuous landscape.
As visitors approach the pavilion, situated in the Giardini della Biennale di Venezia, they will first encounter a 5.5 meter high (18 feet) sculpture of a skewed axis form finished in the brown ultracompact surfacing material Dekton by Cosentino. The geometry of the form relates to the development of the axis as a fundamental to architectural drawing. Libeskind has explored this technical mark in all his major drawing works beginning with Micromegas continuing with Chamberworks, and now in Sonnets of Babylon. This sculptural “X” will serve as a starting point—a virtual beginning of a line that runs through the Sonnets and anchors their exploding and collapsing worlds.