Daniel Libeskind – Sonnets in Babylon

Place: Venice, Italy
La Biennale di Venezia
Commissioner: Madile Gambier
Curator: Renzo Dubbini
Design: Daniel Libeskind
Organization: Comune di Venezia, Libeskind Design
Engineered and made by: Atelier Castagna, Milano
Graphic design: Libeskind design
Photos by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit


Daniel Libeskind – Sonnets in Babylon

Padiglione Venezia – Giardini della Biennale

Sonnets in Babylon is quite an impressive installation, conceived by Daniel Libeskind and housed in the Padiglione Venezia at the Gardens of the Biennale. Its overall visual strength – obtained by fixing on a long curved wall several back-lit panels, tilted so to carefully reflect and refract the incident light – catches the imagination even before realizing that every panel is decorated with a silk-printed reproduction of an ink and watercolor drawing made by Libeskind himself.


 The installation features 101 drawings, part of the Sonnets in Babylon series, never before seen; they depict timeless spaces, and imaginary cities providing a meditation on the relationship between ideas and images and inviting people to ask themselves what form still signifies for architecture: is it an enduring means of human expression or will it be inevitably replaced by technology?



Together with Professor Renzo Dubbini, Daniel Libeskind involved in this project several architecture students of the IUAV University of Venice, here is an excerpt from his invitation to them:
“The subject matter of this project is to select one of my Sonnets (…) Based on this graphic image take many walks in Venice, using it as a kind of metaphysical map. You have to search for the unexpected coincidence of this image with space (…) Take a series of photographs of this unexpected phenomenon. This is not merely a metaphorical exercise nor an academic search for obvious analogies, but a poetic equivalent of the images you take to the images you selected. (…)”

A selection of the photographs realized by the architecture students is exposed in the room near the pavilion entrance.



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Giardini della Biennale

Built in 1807, the Giardini della Biennale (Biennale’s Gardens) is the main venue of the annual art and architecture exhibitions of the Venice Biennale

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