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July 23, 2012 3:53 pm
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Israel’s Most Famous Fountain Is Back In Use

avatar by Atara Arbesfeld

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Yaacov Agam in front of the newly restored Dizengoff fountain.

In Tel Aviv, preparations for the re-opening of famed artist, Yaakov Agam’s Dizengoff Square Fountain are complete, according to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv.

The renovation of the iconic fountain has been hailed as a cause for celebration inside Israel and for art lovers around the world. Earlier this month, the colored panels were repainted, recreating the colorful mosaic sculpture, which offers a unique view at every angle.

Earlier in July, the opening of the newly renovated fountain was rehearsed with the accompaniment of the fountain’s signature classical music. The benches scattered around the side of the fountain were freshly painted with grey on top of their original blue color. The rehearsal event attracted an eclectic crowd including elderly local residents with their Phillipino caretakers, and members of Dizengoff’s punk rocker community.

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Agam, the artist, was also present and appeared pleased with the new incarnation of his work according to the Tel Aviv Times.

“The result is very beautiful. Here they did the maximum amount of work. The combination of water and fire – there are no words in the world  to describe it,” Agam told the local paper.

The “Dizengoff Square Fountain,” otherwise known as the “Fire and Water Fountain,” was dedicated by Agam in 1986. It took ten years for construction and is considered to be one of Agam’s most famous kinetic sculptures. Created in Agam’s signature style, the fountain is made up of an illusory dimension, as well as a moving dimension, and is built with several large saw-like wheels and colorful geometric shapes that can be viewed as different images from each angle of the fountain. The mechanics of the fountain allow its several functions, including turning its wheels, spraying water, emitting fire, and playing music.

“The fire and water together in the sculpture recreates the dynamic elements of time and change,” explained artist Ron Agam,  Yaacov’s son. “The most important element of this artwork is its celebration of life, the most constant thing in life is change and everything is always in movement.”

The launch ends a long legal saga between Agam and the Municipality of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv residents have complained throughout the years about the costly expense of the fountain’s ongoing maintenance. In the end, the municipality was obliged to follow court orders to allow the square’s renovations to be completed.

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  • Juan

    The Aviv residents complaining? The liberal artsy people of Tel Aviv complain about this? HAHA! Hypocrites you people are.

    You should be complaining about the narrow cramped roads, the over-burdened traffic infrastructure, crime, graffiti (as mentioned in the article), and other things more worthy of your time.

    The fountain is great. It plays classical music, not the garbage that most Tel-Avivians call music today. An eye-sore? No, you Tel Avivians are eye-sores, the way you keep such a filthy city littered with garbage. Clean up your act before you complain about the efforts of your municipality to beautify your living space, fools!

  • Ruven Mannheim

    I fully agree with Tel Aviv residenst, this thing is a shame for all cultured Israelis. But they tell us it is beautful and people believe it to be “in”

  • Tel Aviv resident

    What celebration??! You must be joking!

    As mentioned at the end of your article, the city and we residents have been trying to get rid of this noisy, garish, money-guzzling mistake for years. Thanks to a contract apparently signed with Agam in the days of former mayor Shlomo Lahat “Chich”, we’re stuck with it forever. In effect, we’ve had it rammed down our throats by Agam.

    I was a neighbor in its early days. I still hate Ravel’s Bolero, which blared out at intervals along with the ridiculous water and fire show.

    A clear majority of Tel Aviv residents have voted in favor of dismantling the fountain and returning the whole square to the nice grassy roundabout that was there before, instead of the current dirty, smelly, graffiti-sprayed square, meeting place of young undesirables, with these kitschy rotating wheels as its centerpiece.

    Why should we be forced to continue to pay for this eyesore?

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