Agam, Yaakov: 1928 (Israel)

The Artist:

Yaakov Agam was born Yaakov Gipstein in Rishon LeZion, Israel 1928. Agam's initial art training was at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem , before moving to Zurich Switzerland in 1949, where he studied under Johannes Itten (1888-1967) the Bauhaus color-theoretician at the Kuntgewerbe Schule, and he was also influenced by the painter and sculptor Max Bill (1908-1994). He moved to Paris France, where he still lives, and studied at the Atelier d'Art Abstrait in Paris. He studied and then rejected traditional static concepts of painting and sculpture. His art is a fusion of static and 'moving' elements. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost leaders in the field of kinetic art.

Agam's work is heavily influenced by religious thought and mysticism which he learned from his father who was an orthodox rabbi and kabbalist. Studies in time, space, movement, and relationships between time and aesthetics result in art that is made up of complex combinations of shapes and colors; a kinship of art, technology, and visual illusions - visual fourth dimension, an abstraction of time.

In examining Agam's art (painting, sculpture, prints, and montages of materials) a spectator must become involved with the aesthetic and change it. To complete the aesthetic experience the work must be altered either by manual transformation or by physically passing by it and viewing it at various angles. In both cases, the viewer engages in active participation of the art's creation, by visually rearranging the component elements of the artwork.

Some of Agam's two dimensional art is linked with acoustic effects and moving light. And, some has extended to applications in literature, music, and theater. Physically and philosophically, Agam's non representational abstraction, two dimensional or otherwise, is an intellectual and aesthetic effort to integrate formalized art with ancient theories of mysticism i.e., the kabala.

Agam's first one-person show was in Paris in 1953. In 1963, at the Biennial of Sao Paulo, he received the first prize for creative research. In 1980 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York held a retrospective exhibition of his achievements called "Beyond the Visible." Agam's Double Metamorphosis II , is on permanent display at the Modern Art Museum, in New York. More recent Agam works include the architectural work, "Jacob's Ladder", which forms the ceiling of the National Convention House in Jerusalem; a twenty-seven foot high mural for the passenger ship "Shalom"; and in the district of La Defense in Paris, Agam created a monumental musical fountain comprising of 66 vertical water jets shooting water up to 46'.

For the Civic Center at Leverkusen, in West Germany and for the Concert Hall at Leverkusen in West Germany, Agam created visual space - environments that embrace and bring the viewer inside his art. Some other space environments include: Environmental Salon, for the Elysee Palace in Paris which is made up of wall murals, a kinetic ceiling, a moving transparent colored door, and a kinetic tapestry on the floor; Three Times Three Interplay at Julliard School of Music, New York; The Hundred Gates at the garden of presidential palace, Jerusalem; and Environmental Salon which is in permanent exhibition at the Pompidou Museum in Paris. Commissions for other public works include: Synagogue design and public works at Ben-Gurion University; The Independence Day State of Israel commemorative postage stamp; Homage a Mondrian Le Mondrian Hotel, Los Angeles California; Reflection and Depth, Port Authority of New York; Light and moving sculpture for Miami Florida sky scrapers; and the Hanukan Menorah at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in New York City. This 32- foot high, gold colored, 4000 pound steel structure is recognized by the Guinness B ook of World Records as the World's Largest Hanukah Menorah. It uses real oil lamps, which are lighted every year during Hanukka.

Agam awards and world prize recognitions include: Artistic Research, Sao Paulo, Biennial, Brazil; Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University; and the Medal of the Council of Europe. In 1996 he was awarded the Jan Amos Comenius Medal by UNESCO for the "Agam Method" for visual education of young children. In 2009, at age 81, Agam created a monument for the World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan titled "Peaceful Communication withthe World". It consists nine 10m high hexagon pillars positioned in diamond square formation. The Sides of the pillars are pain ted in different patters ad hues, totaling more than 18- shades. One side of each pillar is also lined to segment the structure into sections, so that children's perception of the pillar will change as they grow, because they will seea different pillar at a different height. In May 2014, Agan's piece "Faith-Visual Play" was presented to Pope Francis by El Al Israel Airlines' president David Maimon. The piece included signifcant symbols of both Jewish and Christian Faiths. Agam's work in permanent private and public collections is exhibited in major museums throughout the world. Selected serigraph suites such at the one displayed below have most recently been exhibited at the Jewish Museum, New York.Agam is the highest-selling Israeli artist. In a Sotheby's New York Auction in November 2009, his "4 Themes Counterpoint" was sold for $36,500. In 2010 his "Growth", an outsize kinetic painting done in oil on a wood panel, sold for the record-breaking sum of $698,000.

The Art:

The son of an orthodox rabbi, Agam's life and creative body of art reflects deep rooted understanding and expressions of religious thinking. Agam strives to demonstrate the principle of reality as a continuous "becoming" rather than as a circumscribed statement. The Judaic teaching that reality cannot be represented in a graven image, and that what is seen or observed consists of fragmented images which can never be grasped as a whole, even in very simple situations, led to the pursuit of creating art that cannot be completely seen at one time. Such an art image is intended to give the viewer the understanding that what is seen is only a partial revelation behind which lies unseen levels of reality. The three pieces displayed below are from his Fusion Suite, an edition of 200, printed in New York. Image size is 22" x 22 1/2" plus margins; the paper size is 27" x 27". Each serigraph is hand signed and numbered in pencil.

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Agam275T

Yaakov Agam. The Fusion Suite. Edition of 200. Serigraphs. Image size is 22" x 22 1/2" plus margins. The paper size in 27" x 27". Printed in New York, USA. The suite, displayed in this composite page, was acquired in 1978. These serigraphs are based on the concept of Agam's contrapuntal paintings, and are classical representations of Agam's life work. They demonstrate the concepts of the innovative critical language Agam's work brought to the art world, illustrating the changing nature of the universe, based on an appreciation and understanding of motion and harmony. A viewer, looking Agam's work from different angles, can identify any number of concurrent visual designs. Art is virtually created by the viewer's eye as it moves across the page. The concept is an art work's "constant becoming."

Each original serigraph image is signed and numbered in pencil. The serigraphs are printed on heavy rag paper which appears to have a slight wax finish protecting its clean white margins. The paper has a quality the feel of a light cardboard. The nature of the paper makes the prints suitable for floating or matting in a traditional frame, or box. The Fusion Suite is particularly interesting because it's combined major pieces (imagined superimposed on each other) aesthetically complete the visual aesthetic - an artwork simultaneously kinetic and static, the synthesis of Agam's kinetic theory. The three major pieces from this suite are displayed directly below: Agam173, Agam274, and the synthesis artwork, Agam275. Close-Up

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Agam273

Yaakov Agam. Solfage Fusion 131/200. Serigraph, from the Fusion suite. Image size is 22" x 22 1/2" plus margins. The paper size in 27" x 27". The serigraph was acquired in 1978 and is signed and numbered in pencil The ink surface is rich, and velvet like. There are no scratches. Serigraph is printed on heavy rag paper which appears to have a slight wax finish protecting its clean white margins. The paper has a quality and feel of a light cardboard. The nature of the paper makes the print suitable for floating or matting within a traditional frame or box. This piece, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition.

Note: This art image is an under section of the final fusion composition. When combined with its intermediate pair, Agam274 directly below, Agam's art of shifting images is visually synthesized, i.e., see below at Agam275. Close-Up

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Agam274

Yaakov Agam. Solfage Fusion 150/200. Serigraph, from the Fusion suite. Image size is 22" x 22 1/2" plus margins. The paper size in 27" x 27". The serigraph was acquired in 1978 and is signed and numbered in pencil The ink surface is rich, and velvet like. There are no scratches. Serigraph is printed on heavy rag paper which appears to have a slight wax finish protecting its clean white margins. The paper has a quality and feel of a light cardboard. The nature of the paper makes the print suitable for floating or matting within a traditional frame or box. This piece, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition.

Note: This art image is an under section of the final fusion composition. When combined with its intermediate pair, Agam273 directly above, Agam's art of shifting images is visually synthesized, i.e., see below at Agam275. Close-Up

Click to Enlarge

Agam275

Yaakov Agam. Synthesis: Solfage Fusion 98/200. Serigraph, from the Fusion suite. Image size is 22" x 22 1/2" plus margins. The paper size in 27" x 27". The serigraph was acquired in 1978 and is signed and numbered in pencil. The ink surface is rich, and velvet like. There are no scratches. Serigraph is printed on heavy rag paper which appears to have a slight wax finish protecting its clean white margins. The paper has a quality and feel of a light cardboard. The nature of the paper makes the print suitable for floating or matting within a traditional frame or box. The art image is the final fusion of two images from the suite, presented above (Agam272 and Agam274). The upper corner of the left margin has an almost indiscernible crease, about 1/2" in from the edge. Otherwise the artwork, margins and image surface, is in pristine condition.

Note: This work is a combination of the two suite images displayed directly above, Agam273 and Agam274. This synthesis piece combined with the two preceding images is a classic example of Agam's aesthetic of interlacing themes and shifting images. See the composite above. Close-Up

The three Fusion Suite serigraphs $8,500.

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Agam638

(This piece is not shown on our site at this time, but is available. Contact us if you would like to see it.)

Yaakov Agam. Transformables. Poster. Serigraph. 40" x 20". This rare poster was acquired in 1976. It is a commemorative artwork which advertised the 1971 one man show at the renowned Denise Rene gallery in New York. The black and white image appears to tumble similarly to Agam's most well known works, which in their appearance of tumbling colors and shapes transform themselves, changing from one visual impression to another. Close-Up

$300.

See Ebgi, Israel. Representational Figurative Art.






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