Yaacov Agam (Gibstein), Israeli, born 1928, active in Israel and France.
Yaakov Agam was born in Rishon Lezion, then a small town, to a religious family. His fatherwas a rabbi with an interest in Kabbalah and Jewish spirituality.
In 1946, he studied at the Bezalel School in Jerusalem. At the urging of Mordechai Ardon, he went to study in Zurich in 1949. There he encountered the constructivist art theories of the Bauhaus school. In 1951, he moved to Paris and developed ties with the city’s Surrealist artists.
. In 1953, he created Polyphonic Pictures, kinetic works that change as the viewer shifts perspective. In 1967, he produced his first sculptures. In 1986, he began to use stainless steel. In 1996, he won the UNESCO Education Prize, acknowleding the unique program he designed for early childhood visual education.
Agam makes use of Jewish-Kabbalistic iconography that he turns into abstract images. Many of his works feature opposites that merge in keeping with the thesis-antithesis-synthesis dialectic. Among his best known works are Salon Agam (1971-1975) commissioned for Elysee Palace in Paris, his Fire and Water Fountain (1986) at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv and the facade of the Dan Hotel (1986) in Tel Aviv.
1946 Bezalel School of Art, Jerusalem
1949 Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, Zurich
1949 History of Art and Music, Zurich University
1951 School of Abstract Art, Paris, France
1951 Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris
1967 Harvard University, Boston, United States of America
1983 Hebrew Academy, San Francisco. Visual Education, Yavne, Israel
1985 Visual Education, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Awards and Prizes
1963 Prize for Artistic Research, Sao Paolo Biennale, San Paolo, Brazil
1972 Sandberg Prize for Israeli Art, Israel Museum, Jerusalem
1976 Honorary Citizan of Alabama, USA
1996 UNESCO Prize for Education