At the Direktorenhaus Museum in Berlin this past week, a solo exhibition of detailed architectural drawings by Virginia-based artist Benjamin Sack (previously) opened to the public. Titled Labyrinths, the collection of new works features vast cityscapes comprised of impossible inner-geometries. The maze-like urban maps reference musical compositions and various symbols found in cosmology.
Often creating based on what he calls a “fear of blank spaces,” Sack tells Colossal that his starting point for each drawing is different. Finding inspiration in history, cartography, and his own travels, the artist starts with a general concept and builds his intricate worlds intuitively as he goes. Star-shaped buildings and pathways meet with rows of houses that spiral out from clusters of skyscrapers. The pieces in Labyrinths range from 11 inches by 14 inches (a standard photo print size) up to 90 inches wide and 69 inches tall. A work titled Library of Babel is drawn on the surface of a globe measuring 16 inches in diameter. “Generally, a large piece is begun with a few very broad and simple demarkations in pencil,” Sack explains. The rest of the lines and spaces are filled in with pen.
“Over many years my interest in architecture and cityscapes has evolved,” Sack tells Colossal. He adds that drawing such intricate pieces has “become a way and means of expressing the infinite, playing with perspective and exploring a range of histories, cultures, places.”
Labyrinths will be exhibited through January 22, 2020. For more of Sack’s imaginative maps, follow the artist on Instagram.
From the 1st of November 2019 (Opening at 7pm), the Direktorenhaus in Berlin shows a collection of map-like meditations surveying unfamiliar forms of urbanism; depictions of infinite expanses playing upon themes paradoxical and perpetual. At the root of the drawings are a familiar family of symbols — stars, spirals, cubes and circles— referencing cartographical, cosmological literary and musical inspirations. The compositions are formed from clusters of varying architectural histories, orchestrated in a mosaic fashion to create new and unchartered perspectives.
Towers and low-rise buildings merge together to form familiar yet unimaginably intricate cityscapes with complex spatial arrangements, and, in some cases, in human form. This brand of “abstract urbanism” introduces an imaginative perspective on the urban context and its relation to those who inhabit it.
A range of geometries are harnessed to create the drawings— all the while a very high level of of detail is maintained that helps furnish a level of intimacy within the work. From harsh, angular arrangements, to soft, billowing curves, each piece of art conveys a sense of place and scale.
Benjamin (Ben) Sack is an American artist, known for his pen and ink drawings of imaginary, complex cityscapes. He went to Virginia Commonwealth University and earned his BFA in 2011. Benjamin Sack lives and works in Leesburg, Virginia, a town just outside of Washington D.C. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011 with a degree in Fine Art.
Sack’s work explores architecture as a flexible medium capable of expressing the unique space between realism and abstraction; where interpretation and our ability to create meaning is in flux. Within this space, Sack, furnished with pen and ink, encapsulates both the infinite and infinitesimal. His work invites the eye to explore drawings of the “big picture,” to gaze into a kaleidoscope of histories and to look further into the elemental world of lines and dots.