Letters of Light - A Sculpture by Micha Ullman

An entire world and all it contains can be created with just 22 letters.


In the Letters of Light sculpture, created by artist Micha Ullman for the new National Library of Israel building, you can observe how light and shadow play off of each other, creating Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin letters.


Eighteen blocks of natural rock from Israel’s Ramon Crater are placed in a circle, rising to human height. Each was excavated and cut with special dedication and care. The sunlight passing between the rocks draws the letters on the floor of the square, in a surprising game of light and shadow.


At the center of the circle of letters is an underground space which is a representation of a human throat. Pass through the tunnel leading to it and seek out the Hebrew letters on its walls and ceiling – chet, ayin, heh. When you reach the underground room, seek out the shadows of Hebrew aleph, Arabic aliph, and the Latin "A" which are also formed by the sunlight in motion.


During hours and with the changing of the seasons, the letters change their location and thus turn the silent stones into a dynamic creation, full of light.


This sculpture corresponds with another work by Ullman – The Empty Library – a public memorial which can be seen in the Bebelplatz in the central Mitte district of Berlin, and which commemorates the book burning conducted there by the Nazis on May 10, 1933. While The Empty Library symbolizes the attempt to destroy the written word and the Hebrew language, Letters of Light symbolizes birth, beginnings and creation. The dimensions of the underground space below the memorial in Berlin are identical those of the underground space below the Jerusalem sculpture.


This work of art, the work of Israel Prize winner Micha Ullman, embodies and expresses the values and messages of the renewing National Library, while also connecting the Library with the important institutions nearby: the work is situated in a large square, in the midst of the National Library garden, near the Israel Museum, the Knesset and different government offices.


Letters of Light is located the southern part of the compound, in the Koum Family Foundation Letters of Light Sculpture Garden​.




אותיות אור. צילום: אלבטרוס

אותיות אור. צילום: אלבטרוס