DECEMBER 4 | MICROCALLIGRAPHY THROUGH HISTORY: JOHANN MICHAEL PÜCHLER, LEVI DAVID VAN GELDER, AND MATTHEW KENYON
For the final public program for Edge of Visibility, we hosted a gallery talk with Freyda Spira, Associate Curator, Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, David Wachtel, independent scholar, and artist Matthew Kenyon. They discussed the history of microcalligraphy through the work of Johann Michael Püchler, Levi David van Gelder, and Kenyon’s Notepad (2007), all featured in the exhibition.
A Jewish tradition that dates back to the 9th century, microcalligraphy is the use of tiny lettering to form larger pictures. Püchler and van Gelder are among the historical figures that laid the framework for this technique to reemerge in contemporary art. The microscopic names and death dates of Iraqi civilians are covertly embedded in the lines of Kenyon's seemingly blank yellow notepads, inserting the memory of deaths that have never been fully acknowledged into civic space.