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Yaacov Agam

Israeli, born 1928

© 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

The Ninth Power, 1970–71

Stainless steel
70 3/4 x 70 x 70 inches (180 x 177.8 x 177.8 cm)
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1971

Art as an expression of religious and spiritual themes spans from the beginning of human history to the present day. Yaacov Agam once explained, “The driving force and the source from which I draw my inspiration stem from my desire to give . . . artistic expression to the ancient Hebrew concept of reality, which differs in its essence from that of all other civilizations, and which, to my mind, has never found its true artistic expression.”

The Ninth Power is one of a number of highly polished metal sculptures Agam created in the early 1970s. In the ancient Hebrew system of mysticism (Kaballah), the number nine represented truth. Nine parts comprise the work, each consisting of two tubular stainless-steel circles joined to meet at right angles. The Ninth Power can be installed in a variety of ways—back to back, upside down, or staggered—so that the nine separate parts relate differently. The highly polished metal reflects the surrounding space, resulting in a weightless or ethereal effect. The repeated circles bring to mind growth, expansion, and reflection, as well as ripples of water and spirals.

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