Agam

The colorful but weathered panels that have adorned UAB Callahan Eye Hospital since 1976 are taking an extended vacation this year. Those panels make up Complex Vision, one of the earlier examples of kinetic art as envisioned by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam, who in the mid-1950s began establishing himself as one of the pioneers of optical and kinetic sculpture.


Yaacov Agam

Agam trained at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem before moving to Zürich, Switzerland, in 1949, to continue his studies. He moved to Paris in 1951, where he still lives and works to this day.

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Dennis Carhart

Originally an automobile paint and restoration expert, Carhart first met Yaacov Agam in 1993, when the renowned artist rented Carhart’s spacious workshop to use for a restoration project.

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The Restoration Process

Here are a few images showing dismantling and preparation for cleaning to the detail oriented process of carefully restoring each element of the artwork and keeping everything together for transportation back to Birmingham for reassembly at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. 


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What is "Complex Vision"?

  • “Complex Vision” was installed on the front of UAB Callahan Eye Hospital in 1976 making it 38 years old.
  • “Complex Vision” was featured on the front of Birmingham telephone book in 1977.
  • “Complex Vision” is 30 feet by 30 feet in size and at one time was the largest outdoor structure ever created by Yaacov Agam.
  • "Complex Vision" is made up of 69 aluminum panels, each 9 feet, 9 inches long, 13 inches wide, and weighing roughly 50 pounds.
  • The structure shows four distinct views as one walks or drives past it depending on the angle it is viewed, giving the sensation of movement.

Museums Exhibiting Yaacov Agam's Work

Yaacov Agam’s artwork has been exhibited by the world's finest museums including Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, New York; Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri; and Tel Aviv Museum in Israel.

Sustaining the vision

The original Complex Vision sculpture was made possible by the late Mr. Marvin Engel and Mrs. Ruth Engel as a memorial to their parents,  who were also patients of UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. The Engel Foundation has generously contributed to our restoration efforts to continue the Engel’s legacy of contributing to the arts and supporting the Callahan Eye Hospital.

If you would like to find out more information about contributing to the restoration of Complex Vision, please contact Jackie Wood at 205-325-8526 or jfwood@uab.edu.