Agam: A Pioneer in Color and Movement

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What comes to mind when thinking of kinetic art? Some might associate color and movement while others connect to the intricate engineering behind these works of art. The universal appeal of kinetic art can be traced all the way to the movement's forefathers. Hailing from different countries, its leaders serve as a testament to how this artistic style transcended boundaries and evoked popularity from masses all over the world.

 

Born in the early 1920's, kinetic art rose to popularity thanks to its relatable nature and appealing aesthetic. The use of color and movement allowed people of all ages and nationalities to enjoy the works of art at face value. Its seeming simplicity would usually hide the works complex nature.

 

In the 1950's and 1960's young groups of artists left their home countries and moved to Paris to materialize their artistic vision. The influx and communication of art theory brought about one of the most interesting artistic styles of the mid-twentieth century. Among the pioneers of kinetic art was the Israeli artist, Yaacov Agam.

 

Agam's unique form of expression reflects the reality of Judaism and art rooted from other civilizations. The artist's intention has always been to create works of art that transcend what is visible. A passionate experimenter, Agam deals with such problems as the fourth dimension, simultaneity and time in the visual arts. He has extended his experiments to the fields of literature, music and art theory.

 

Agam was born in 1928, in Rishon LeZion. Growing up without any formal education, the artist absorbed the heritage of Jewish spiritual values taught at home. He was particularly attracted to Jewish mystic lore and kabbalistic studies his father would practice. This heritage remained at the core of Agam's artistic philosophy throughout his career. After studying for a couple of years in Jerusalem, Agam settled in Paris in 1951. Following World War II, Paris struggled to retain its place as the world's art center. However, the city's history and diversity provided young artists with a rich panorama.

 

The artist's work has been exhibited in leading institutions such as the Musée National d'Art Moderne Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Modern Art, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Elysee Palace in Paris. Some of his public commissions are featured in La Défense district in Paris as well as the "Fire and Water Fountain" in Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Square. Furthermore, Agam was awarded the Jan Amos Comenius Medal by UNESCO for devising the “Agam Method”, a visual education program for young children.

 

Agam's popularity is also reflected in his success in the market. Sales results of his works at auction have made him the highest-selling Israeli artist. His work “4 Themes Contrepoint” sold for $326,500 at Sothebys New York in November 2009. Regarding the demand for his work in the sale, the artist shared: “This does not amaze me ... my prices will go up, in keeping with the history I made in the art world.” One year later, his work “Growth", estimated at $150,000 to $250,000, sold for the record-breaking sum of $698,000.

 

Agam's cultural accomplishment is of great importnace. The artist placed Israeli modern art on the global map. His pioneering studies have not only impacted the arts, but also architecture and theater as well. His inventive power, virtuosity, as well as the rich and complex artistic content of his work, has earned him a firm place in art history.

 

On December 1, the renowned Parisian gallery Espace Meyer Zafra will be launching its new showroom in Miami. To kickoff the week of Art Basel Miami Beach, the gallery will open its doors for the vernissage of "Agam & Co." The exhibition includes an impressive array of limited edition prints by Yaacov Agam along with works by other established Latin American kinetic artists such as Carlos Cruz-Diez and Mauel Merida.

 

Espace Meyer Zafra aims at putting forward the Latin American and European artists of the optical, kinetic art and the geometric abstraction. The gallery has presented the artists' first generation of kinetic art such as Yaacov Agam, Jesus Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Antonio Asis, Narciso Debourg and Ludwig Wilding.

 

ESPACE MEYER ZAFRA MIAMI - 1130 E Hallandale Beach Blvd, Suite C Hallandale Beach, Fl 33009