Archive for sculptures

Yaacov Agam—21st Century Genius

Posted in Artists, Yaacov Agam with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by Park West Gallery

“For twenty years, I tried, and finally I understood, the image must be something that becomes, not something that is.

Where is truth, where is the true order? The only truth is the truth of states of being, and the passage of time which destroys itself.”

—YAACOV AGAM, 1971

Yaacov Agam, At“AT” by Yaacov Agam

“Genius” is a hard word to substantiate, as these days in our transient and disposable culture it is often thrown about in reference to all sorts of people from all walks of life. But too often, sadly, novelty is confused with quality.

In the case of 81-year-old artist Yaacov Agam, the word “genius” only touches the surface. The world is filled with his art. From giant installations found in places as far flung as Taipei, Jerusalem and New York City, to individual objects that grace the collections of his devotees from all over the world, Agam has made his mark, which will not be erased from history.

Born in 1921 as the son of an Orthodox rabbi, Agam’s consciousness was always shrouded in mysticism. Steeped in the Kabbala along with the spiritual writings of Wassily Kandinsky and the conceptual revolutions of form and color developed by Johannes Itten and Josef Albers, Agam emerged with an art form independent from all others. In Agam’s art there is a departure from traditional forms of visual expression. In conventional art, everything is visible. Agam’s art strives to capture the invisible; the possible but not yet experienced, and in this way the infinite.

Agam says, “I am not an abstract artist… Abstract art shows a situation on a canvas. I show a state of being which does not exist, the imperceptible absence of an image… The infinity of possibilities, opposing the chance of a presence, a possibility.”

Yaacov Agam, Colorful SkyColorful Sky View” by Yaacov Agam

When one encounters an Agam work, an indefinable experience occurs. Rather than in the traditional artistic experience—where the viewer passively absorbs what the artist has created—in Agam’s art the viewer and the artwork merge. The artwork cannot appear, or come into being, without the participation of the viewer; the creative process and the aesthetic experienced are mingled, and inseparable from one another. The work of art does not exist unless the viewer is engaged and thereby involved in creating its existence.

Walk past a work of Agam‘s and take in the intricate number of manifestations and visible expressions that appear as you move before it. Slide a moveable element from side to side and watch imagery appear from “nowhere,” suddenly and momentarily visible until another millimeter of movement is induced and it vanishes, only to be replaced by yet another visual surprise. Touch a sculpture by Agam and rearrange its elements into yet another of the infinite number of three-dimensional compositions which may be created. All of these experiences are what defines his art, and his genius.

His colors are of the rainbow, God’s first work of art given to man in a pact with Noah (Agam describes the “phenomenon of light” as “inexplicable.”). His forms and structures are marvels of simplicity and simultaneous complexity. His “polymorphic” paintings and multiples are merely corrugations with color adhered to the sides, and yet their purity and simplicity point to profound and universal mysteries discovered in the appearance and disappearance of things.

Yaacov Agam, Festival Night Dance“Festival Night Dance” by Yaacov Agam

In 1964, Agam wrote his artistic credo. Fully formed and unchanged since that time, it has provided the inexhaustible wellspring of his art and sustained him for nearly 50 years, without limitation. He says in it, “My intention was to create a work of art which would transcend the visible, which cannot be perceived except in stages, with the understanding that it is a partial revelation and not the perpetuation of the existing. My aim is to show what can be seen within the limits of possibility which exists in the midst of coming into being.”

It is through Agam that the aesthetic narrative was re-engaged after having been cast aside by the conceptualists. He has taken up the thread of aesthetic beauty, added the notion of time, space and the infinite, and forged his place in the pantheon of the geniuses of art history.

Park West Gallery is honored to have had a relationship with this contemporary master for over 30 years and to present his artworks to our clients, who continue to enthusiastically embrace his astonishing and unforgettable creations.

A Gavel Falls…is the Pendulum of Art History Swinging Back?

Posted in Alberto Giacometti, Art Auctions, Artists with tags , , , , , on October 14, 2010 by Park West Gallery

The art and financial worlds were all abuzz about the vigorous buying surge witnessed on the evening of February 3, 2010 at Sotheby’s London, when a bronze sculpture by Swiss modern master Alberto Giacometti fetched the highest price in art auction history. Phillip Hook, the London-based Sotheby’s specialist in Impressionist art afterward commented about the supply and demand dynamics involved: “Throughout 2009, we could see plenty of demand for works but not enough supply. This sale confirmed there is more supply and, if anything, demand is even greater.”

Alberto Giacometti, L'Homme qui marche I (Walking Man I)“L’Homme Qui Marche I (Walking Man I)” by Alberto Giacometti

After the most significant world-wide economic downturn in more than 70 years, it’s not hard to understand the confusion, consternation and in some cases anger displayed by people wondering how a piece of metal could be worth 65 million pounds (104.3 million dollars). Add to this newest “shocking” price phenomenon the unprecedented prices fetched at the Sotheby’s London auction in September 2008, of the works of British artist Damien Hirst. This sale which contained dead animals encased in formaldehyde filled boxes, cigarette butts arranged on medicine cabinets, dead flies shellacked onto canvasses, and other prime examples of Hirst’s aesthetic ephemera, in total fetched an astonishing $200,700,000 the highest price in history at auction for a single artist (eclipsing even Picasso’s record of 1993).

The same Phillip Hook in his 2009 book, The Ultimate Trophy: How Impressionist Painting Conquered the World (Prestel), perfectly captured another aspect of the public’s mystification of art’s perceived value. “We live in an era, which more than ever before, equates novelty with quality,” he stated. I fear (and fervently hope) that this comment by Mr. Hook, may be no longer the case and that due to the confluence of economic, sociopolitical, and even spiritual realities our shrunken world is experiencing today the big pendulum of art history as evidenced by the Giacometti sculpture may finally be swinging back.

The financial realities everyone the world over is experiencing today have shifted the paradigm. The age of conspicuous consumerism if not over, is today like a cubist painting, offering multiple and fragmented views of reality. To me, it’s no wonder that a work of art can emerge as a symbol of our times, a touchstone for something that still reveals the glory and hope of human creativity. Like a Haiku, wherein great wisdom may be discerned in myriad ways by those who read it, the dramatic demonstration of the value of a work of art amidst times of uncertainty and even iconoclastic worldwide financial transformation still bodes well for us all.

Since the days when men first made markings on stone, stepped back and contemplated the mysteries of human consciousness found in the residue of those markings, art has been the beacon, the spearhead of human achievement. Why not now to once again affirm its enduring meaning in our lives and watch the pendulum move back again toward those same aspirations of form and content that created the narrative of art for 60,000 years? Seems like a perfectly fitting and beautiful irony to me.

The Ancient Greeks believed that sculpture was the purest and highest art form. I suspect they (and Giacometti) knew something we didn’t, until now.

Visiting Linda Le Kinff’s Studio and Home

Posted in Art Videos, Artists, Linda Le Kinff with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by Park West Gallery

In a special unprecedented visit, I traveled with Park West Gallery President, Marc Scaglione, other members of the Park West Gallery team, and 70 of Park West Gallery’s long-term clients, to see the home and studio of artist Linda Le Kinff. At Linda’s home, in the historic French town of Rambouillet, we were treated to a tour of the house and Linda’s adjoining studio filled with Le Kinff art of all types and periods.

Le Cirque by Linda Le Kinff“Le Cirque” by Linda Le Kinff

Along with her husband, Jacques, Linda elected to present a never-before-seen collection of paintings on wood and canvas, collages, and a most unusual array of objets d’art, including sculpture bases composed of four painted panels and two ‘coffee tables’ created by mounting large painted panels on legs. Also included were two poetry books created by Linda on special hand-made papers, filled with original poetry, drawings, paintings and collages. These two highly intimate and compelling creations were a delight to the guests.

Most well received were Linda’s sculptures in bronze. These works had never before been offered to collectors and they ranged in size from small table top works to life-size bronzes installed in her backyard. Linda announced that she would be going to the studio foundry in Italy where the works are cast to supervise the casting of each sculpture ordered and the specification of the color (or patina) chosen by each collector.

Left to Right: Agathe en or, La Contrebassiste, Anais a la Capeline, La Trapeziste
From left: “Agathe en Or,” “La Contrebassiste,” “Anais a la Capeline,” and “La Trapeziste” by Linda Le Kinff.

Finally, Linda unveiled — for the first time — the new catalog raisonée of her graphic works. The book, over five years in the making, was enthusiastically received and a signed and dedicated copy was made available to each couple in attendance.

There is no experience like meeting an artist and peering into the creative world in which they work and live. At Park West Gallery, we are delighted to bring these enriching experiences to our clients, as they provide a deeper appreciation and understanding of the remarkably talented people who represent the art of our time. This was truly a unique experience that only Park West Gallery could bring.
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Click the player below to join me on an exclusive tour of Linda Le Kinff’s home and studio in Rambouillet.