Modern Design /03 October 2004


Yaacov Agam

Transformable Painting in Movement
Israel/France, 1957
painted wood, steel wire, painted metal
46 w in (117 cm)

Yaacov Agam considered the way we feel and perceive time to be central to the artistic experience. He wanted to emphasize the constant movement of reality rather than a fixed moment in time. Agam's genre of interactive, kinetic sculpture exemplifies his philosophical drive toward rendering perceptible the absence of an image. The constant metamorphosis of the image parallels the fact that time continually moves forward. His remarkable curriculum vitae includes a guest lecturer position at Harvard University in 1968, a commission from Georges Pompidou to create an environment at the Palais de l'Elysee in 1972 (now installed at the Centre Pompidou), and a retrospective at the Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris in 1972. This early example of kinetic art from Agam includes enameled elements that can be moved and placed in any of the numerous of holes across the painted surface, allowing the composition to be dictated at will. The structure and each individual element freely rotate, creating a kinetic surface. Signed, titled and dated on verso. Gallery tag on verso. Literature: Transformable Dialogue, Agam, pg. 3 discusses the Transformable series

provenance: Howard Wise Gallery, New York Private collection

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $14,400

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Yaacov Agam b. 1928

Born Yaacov Gipstein in 1928 in Rishon LeZion, Palestine (now Israel), Yaacov Agam’s father was a rabbi and spiritual Kabbalist. He recalls being an inquisitive child, his first real experience with the arts was reading Irving Stone’s novel on Van Gogh, Lust for Life at the age of twelve. Agam embarked on his artistic studies in Jerusalem at the Bezalel Academy. He would later travel to Switzerland to study under the renowned color theorist Johannes Itten at Zürich’s Kunstgewerbe Schule. In 1951, Agam went to Paris and enrolled the Atelier d'art abstrait and at the Académie de la grande chaumière. 

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