Jacob El Hanani (Israeli, born Morocco, 1947)
Pen and ink on paper; 18 3/4 x 18 7/8 in. (47.6 x 47.9 cm)
Purchase, George M. and Janet Jaffin Gift, 1993 (1993.265)
This work is one of a series of El Hanani's drawings in which thousands of tiny marks fill square or rectangular compositions. From a distance, patterns and swaying fields of gray emerge from the page, the result of slight changes in pen pressure or stroke width. Up close, one can more carefully examine the marks and admire the intense amount of work their creation commanded. Sometimes these marks are in fact tiny letters, and so one can find a source for El Hanani's work in the use of micrography for transcribing Jewish holy texts. In this particular drawing, however, he seems to insist on the process of creation instead. El Hanani was born and spent his early childhood in Casablanca; his family then moved to Tel Aviv, where he received training in the arts. Professionally he worked first in Paris and now lives in New York.