Yaacov Agam (1928–)
World-renowned kinetic artist Agam pioneered a new art form, which stresses change and movement. He studied under the Bauhaus’ color-theoretician Johannes Itten and then rejected traditional static concepts of painting and sculpture. He has enjoyed great public success since his first one-person show in Paris in 1953 and has become one of the most influential artists of modern times.
The son of an Orthodox Rabbi, Agam’s initial training in art was at the Bezalel School in Jerusalem. His nonrepresentational style is an integration of formalist art with that of the cabala (the study of Hebrew mysticism). He has created a body of work in which the viewer may participate in a changing work of art either by manual transformation of the work or by physically passing by the work and viewing the image change at various angles. His works are collected worldwide and he has enjoyed major museum shows. In 1980 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York held the retrospective exhibition, “Beyond the Visible.” His “selected suites” were at the Jewish Museum, New York (1975). His commissions include “Homage a Mondrian” Le Mondrian Hotel, Los Angeles (1985); “Reflection and Depth,” Port Authority of New York; Synagogue Design and Civic Center, Ben-Gurion University (1979). For his work he has received numerous awards: Prize for Artistic Research, Sao Paulo, Bienal, Brazil (1963); guest lecturer, Harvard University (1968), Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (1974); Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University (1975); Medal of the Council of Europe (1977).
Agam works in a variety of media, including painting in two and three-dimensions, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, stained glass, serigraphy, lithography, etching, and combinations of media. His creation of the “Agamograph,” a multiple series of images, viewed through a lenticular lens, which creates change at every angle viewed, has allowed his unique concept to be appreciated by collectors the world over. Agam also writes extensively about his work, and has had several books published on his imagery, concepts, and exhibitions including, Agam, by Frank Popper, published by Harry Abrams.