Visual Symphonies

Catherine Shu, Taipei Times

Yaacov Agam, an artistic pioneer whose art weaves time, movement and color together, recently unveiled his latest work in Taipei

“When you have a child, the first thing he will do is take a pen and make a line. The line is one dimension, it starts and finishes, you can measure it and everything. The first [visual] expression of man was line, it was all one-dimensional art, all drawings were done in lines. The second dimension is [represented in] Egyptian art, the legs were all shown from the side, people were drawn in profile, eyes were seen from the side.
Then you had three dimensions, which is volume. For example, in the Mona Lisa, there is not only the subject but also mountains and rocks behind her, you have depth.
When I introduced the fourth dimension, many artists started using it, and I am now exploring the fifth and sixth dimension. When you see something in my artwork, you see something that is happening and every minute can be different. When I finish a work, it is just starting.
[Agam takes out the Beating Heart kinetic sculpture and arranges it on a table.]
In modern science, in physics, the biggest advantage is that you can measure energy, you can measure time. But you can’t measure reality because if you want to measure it, you have to stop it and if you stop it then it’s not the same thing. Now, if I touch it like this [Agam gently presses on one side of the sculpture], you get one element. [Agam gently touches it again, on another side.] Now when I do it like this, the center doesn’t move, so it’s different than before. It’s different, every time you touch it, it’s another movement. Time gave me another movement and time is always unforeseen. It’s different, but it’s still the same thing. You don’t know how it will change.”

Catherine Shu, Visual Symphonies, Taipei Times, 2010

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