Location: Harrisburg, PA, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $50,000
Gravity naturally makes things fall down. Jeff Kahn's kinetic sculptures are inspired by his desire to use gravity to make things stay up. Composed of stainless steel, aluminum and titanium, "Transcending Tides" explores a very delicate balance between hard metal and imperceptible currents of air, which provide an unlimited range of movement and design. The taller sculpture is 14 feet high and the shorter is 10 feet high with about a 12 foot swing.
"Transcending Tides," the pair of sculptures that stand by the Emergency Department entrance of PinnacleHealth's new West Shore Hospital in Harrisburg, PA., were designed to calm patients entering the ER and to provide a therapeutic focal point for families in the waiting room. "Kinetic sculpture, movement of this kind, is soothing," says Paul Toburen, vice president of facilities and support for PinnacleHealth. "When a person comes to a hospital, they're already stressed and have a high level of anxiety. What Pinnacle does in a variety of ways is try to create a calming environment for a patient." Toburen says the gentle movement of "Transcending Tides" aligns with Pinnacle's other innovative efforts, such as painting the waiting areas in soothing colors, providing comfortable furniture and carefully selecting beautiful artwork. The pair of sculptures that make up "Transcending Tides" interact with the wind and with each other to create an unlimited number of intricate designs to relieve both stress and boredom among patients and visitors.
"Transcending Tides" was a collaboration between PinnacleHealth, PinnacleHealth Auxiliary, PinnacleHealth West Shore Hospital Sculpture Committee, Art Partnership, Inc.of Philadelphia and Kahn, an artist whose work has exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian and the New York Botanical Garden.
The Auxiliary began its search in the summer of 2013 and visited Kahn's studio in the fall, but did not make their final selection until mid-March 2014. Despite the extremely tight deadline, Kahn collaborated cheerfully with everyone involved.
"Working with Jeff was fluid and fun," says Phyllis Hicks, of PinnacleHealth's Auxiliary Sculpture Committee. His approach to collaboration appealed to our learning style – which is both visual and kinesthetic. Visiting his studio to see and experience his creative process and ask questions specific to our needs convinced us that his sculpture was the perfect embodiment of tranquility, resilience, and strength – which is exactly what we hoped to convey."
"Jeff is a gracious and generous artist to work with," said Amy Huck, Auxiliary Treasurer. "He listened to our vision for the piece, and he donated an exquisite hanging sculpture for our biggest fundraiser. It will be a pleasure to work with him again."
One of my inspirations as an artist is Auguste Rodin. The energy and strength he carves into a piece of bronze is astounding. I like this quote from him: “The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live." In my own small way, I wish "Transcending Tides" brings peace and hope to the patients and families who visit Pinnacle.