Yaacov Agam (b. 1928), Fontaine monumentale [Monumental fountain], reinforced concrete, ceramics and Venetian enamels granite, water, light, music, 1977
Located in the centre of the Esplanade de La Défense, Agam's Fontaine monumentale [Monumental fountain] was designed as a spectacular, neighbourhood-scale artwork. It is made up of 86 shades of Venetian enamelled glass paste colours.
A superb example of kinetic art, its 26 meter by 86 meter basin has a 72 meter spillway made of a mosaic of enamels specially made in Venice. A system propels the 66 jets of water over a height of 15 meters. An almost unique system of propulsion with frequency variator in the world gives an effect of "balls" of water in the sky. The water then cascades down a cascade about 7 metres high, which empties into Place de La Défense.
When the fountain is inactive, the shapes and colours of the basin give the illusion of movement along the waterfall.
Underneath the pool is a machinery area of equivalent size to the pool, two water retention tanks are placed along the entire length of the room. The function of the first basin is to collect the water falling from the cascade, filter and treat it; 16 pumps transport the water to the second basin placed just below the jets, parallel to the first. From this basin the water is projected. The system requires 850 m³ of water: 425 m³ in the basin and 425 m³ in the retention tanks and pipes. Every day, due to evaporation, between 10 and 15 m³ of water must be re-injected. The two polyester tanks must be replaced every 10 years.
Israeli artist, born in 1928 and a student of the Bauhaus, Yaacov Agam began to take an interest in kinetic movement in the early 1950s. Through metallic structural elements, means such as sound and light or elements such as water, he appeals to the viewer who, as he moves around, appreciates new facets of the artwork by discovering its multiple possibilities.
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