The library is part of an exhibition of new work, psalm, for the Jewish Museum located in the Ghetto and the Ateneo Veneto in Venice which was unveiled during the Biennale’s preview week.
The library is a temporary pavilion which holds almost 2000 books by exiled writers, from Ovid to the present day. Visitors are encouraged to sit and read the books almost all of which are in translation, reflecting the idea of language as migration.
Inside the library hangs a quartet of new vitrines by de Waal; their spaces and arrangements echoing Daniel Bomberg’s famous Renaissance printing of the Talmud. The external walls are painted with liquid porcelain and gold leaf, into which de Waal has inscribed the names of the lost libraries of the world. It is a place of contemplation and a place of dialogue.