The Yaacov Agam Museum of Art has recently opened in Rishon LeZion, the hometown of internationally acclaimed Israeli artist Yaacov Agam.
Located in Israel’s fourth largest city, just 10 minutes south of Tel Aviv, the museum is a joint initiative of the Rishon LeZion municipality and the father of the Kinetic Art movement. The museum will showcase six decades of Agam’s groundbreaking artistic research, presenting temporary exhibitions and permanent displays of some of his most important artworks, coming from prestigious collections and museums worldwide.
Yaacov Agam’s art, which engages and fascinates all ages and audiences, from curious tots to sophisticated art enthusiasts, spans a breathtaking range of artistic expressions, – transformable sculptures and paintings, polymorphic relief paintings, interactive digital art, objects and installations amongst others. At age 90, Agam continues to renew himself with untiring energy and aims to establish the museum as the worldwide center of his artistic philosophy and award winning Visual Education Method, as well as one of only a few museums dedicated to Kinetic Art.
The Agam Museum offers us the opportunity to see “beyond the visible” and experience art that reflects reality as a “constant being” – irreducible to any single appearance in time or space, – a reality whose most constant aspect is Change. Each visitor is thus invited to explore and actively interact with Agam’s multifaceted and ever -changing artworks, immersing themselves in what the artist calls the 4th dimension, – the dimension of time and movement, change and the unexpected.
Designed by celebrated architect David Nofar, and surrounded by a Sculpture Garden, the museum’s 3,200 square meter exhibition space and complex architecture invites for a meditative and awe- inspiring visit. Gracing the entrance of the building, the lobby and central hall are , Agam’s Pillars of Clila,– named after his late wife and courtesy of the Kadar Family and Naomi Foundation. Featuring 29 intricately designed columns combining the partition between inside and outside. Visitors who wander through this majestic work of art experience a vibrant visual symphony where each step s reveals news motifs leading from the shaded external plaza to the main exhibition hall.
The building’s central ramp displays the exquisitely colored “Panoramagam”, a 22 meter long relief painting, originally exhibited on the famous spiral of the Guggenheim Museum in New- York, and specially commissioned for Agam’s historic 1980 retrospective. As the visitor strolls along the curved walls, the vivid rhythmically punctuated color scales fade in and out of a meditative white, like a rainbow springing from light.
The museum venue includes a multistage multimedia hall which will hosts exhibits, performances and events in the spirit of the artist’s work and philosophy. In addition, the museum will host conferences, seminars and tours as well as a variety of activities, tours and creative workshops for all audiences including children and families, in various languages.
Yaacov Agam, the father of the Kinetic Movement in Modern Art, and one of the world’s leading artists of the twentieth century was born on May 11, 1928 and raised in the then small town of Rishon LeZion in a family steeped in Jewish spiritual values. The son of a rabbi, Agam shared his time between the lessons of his “Melamed” (religious teacher) – who introduced him to the second commandment “Thou shall not make any graven image” – and the teachings of nature. The sand dunes of Rishon LeZion inspired him to trace drawings that would change constantly with the blowing wind.
As an aspiring artist, he studied at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, followed by Zurich and Paris, under the tutelage of famous artists such as Mordecai Ardon and Johannes Itten. But as Agam acknowledges, it was his early spiritual roots and his understanding of Judaism as opposed to the reification of time that ultimately shaped his artistic credo. Agam’s landmark 1953 solo exhibition at the Gallery Craven marked the beginning of the Kinetic Movement, introducing for the first time in art, moveable and transformable paintings that expressed the dynamic and unexpected nature of reality and enabled the viewer’s active participation.
From the 1950’s to the present, Yaacov Agam’s works have been purchased by prestigious collectors and displayed in numerous exhibitions in the most important museums around the world, including the MoMA and Guggenheim in New York and the Pompidou Center in Paris, where “Salon Agam” is included in the museum’s top list of collection masterpieces. In addition, his works are displayed in famous venues such as the Élysee Palace in Paris, the White House and others. His monumental and environmental artworks adorn public spaces in major metropolitan cities such as New -York, Miami, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Paris to name just a few.
In the Israeli public sphere, the artist is especially renowned for the iconic “Water and Fire” fountain in Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv and the vibrant design of the façade of the Dan Hotel on the Tel Aviv promenade. His works are also displayed, amongst other places, at the President’s Residence and by the Western Wall square in Jerusalem, as well as in the Israel Museum and the Tel -Aviv Museum of Art,where his monumental “Pace of Time” welcomes visitors entering the museum.