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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Kinetic, Vital World of Yaacov Agam

“The infinite does not exist except in the complete form.”

—Yaacov Agam

MIR Gallery, an online division of MIR Appraisal Services, is proud to showcase in its collection a Yaacov Agam print, colored lithograph on paper.

Yaacov Agam, MIR Gallery

Yaacov Agam, an Israeli-born painter, sculptor, and experimental artist, incorporates rhythmic, geometric forms to produce kinetic effects.

Primarily concerned with the philosophical and spiritual implications of his artistic expression, Agam’s credo centers about unified form as a means of expressing the reality of the universe. In the words of Agam, he seeks to give “plastic and artistic expression to the ancient Hebrew concept of reality.” In his fascinating treatise on personal artistic practice, Agam treats his works as “more reality than abstraction, for the observer is revealed a world that is ‘One, yet unique in unity’” (Davidson 7).

Thomas Messer, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, explains further. Messer identifies Agam’s works as “multi-faceted reality projects,” which stem from the belief that while Divinity perceives reality in its entirety, we can see only fragments of reality. Furthermore, these reality fragments can be “harmonic or contrapuntal evidence.” Perhaps most important in reading meaning and purpose through Agam’s aesthetic choices, Messer explains that Agam’s work embodies the belief that one must perceive reality as kinetic, shifting material (8).

His relief paintings can be viewed as various paintings compacted into one piece, and as the viewer changes position, Agam’s colorful grids appear to shift (Arnason 568). In this sense, Agam’s work can be categorized as Op art and Kinetic art; the optical effects of his work suggest multiple layers of images, and movement by the spectator affects an illusion of movement in the work itself.

Indeed, his work, along with the work of Bury, Calder, and Tinguely, was included in Le Mouvement, the seminal exhibition of kinetic art in 1955 (Chilvers Kinetic Art). While the visual effects are stunning, the philosophical impetus is “reconstruction of the universe through image,” as noted by Guilo Carlo Argan (Davidson 17).

Agam’s reputation continues to grow; the artist primarily works in Paris, and the design of a square in the city’s Defense quarter is only one of several major public commissions. To schedule a visit to view this intriguing, technically adept print at MIR Appraisal Services, please do call (312) 814-8510 or email

Written and researched by Jessica Savitz

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.

Principal Appraiser & Director: Farhad Radfar, ISA, AM

307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308

Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 814-8510

Works Cited:

Chilvers, Ian. "Agam, Yaacov." The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Chicago. 3 January 2010.

Chilvers, Ian. "Kinetic art." The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Chicago. 3 January 2010.

Davidson, Joan Marie Weiss, translator. Homage to Agam. New York: Leon Amiel Publisher, Inc., 1980.

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    Chicago, Illinois, United States
    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.