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Jacob El Hanani

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Statement/Biography

Over the last 30 years Jacob El Hanani has pursued his vision with tenacity and zeal unswayed by the ever-changing trends of the contemporary art world. Jacob El Hanani’s drawings, known internationally, are composed of thousands of tiny lines or letters. Each work follows a preconceived plan - perhaps strikes of a certain number or length, letters, or the artist’s signature repeated endlessly. His work falls within several different series - Signature, Crosshatch, Kav Parallel, Gauze, and Letter falls. He believes an important element in his art is his basic concept of time, His drawings take months to execute and are so demanding that he works for only 10 or 12 minutes at a time before taking a break. “I want to draw time,” Jacob says, “I want to make you feel the time it took, see the time in it.”


El Hanani was born in 1947 and spent his early childhood in Casablanca. In the early 1950’s El Hanani’s family immigrated to Israel where he grew up. He is a graduate of the Avni School of Fine Art in Tel Aviv. Following school he lived in Paris for a number of years attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. El Hanani has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. In 2005 the Whitney Museum of American Art included El Hanani’s drawings in an exhibition entitled Building and Breaking the Grid. El Hanani’s drawings are represented in many museum collections including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The Jewish Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, Musee national d’Arte Moderne, Centre George Pompidou, Paris, The British Museum, London, The Menil Collection in Houston, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Since 1974 El Hanani has lived and worked in New York City.