Client: Montefiore Health System
Location: Bronx, NY, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $140,000
Montefiore Health System
Department of Engineering
Montefiore Health System
Ascension Leaves, a kinetic sculpture located the main lobby of the Moses Campus, represents transcendence, transformation and growth. Created from over 6500 leaves collected over the course of one year, each leaf has been hand-dyed in a gradient of color and arranged on varying lengths of microfilament streamers and installed in concentric circles in a chandelier-like configuration. The streamers are weighted with quartz stones. The sculpture is sited within the area of a circular stairwell connecting the ground and second floors in the lobby and measures up to 14’ H x 7.5’ D.
Art sets the tone for your experience in a medical center. Therefore the renovation of the lobby included the integration of artwork. The lobby serves as the primary entrance for patients, family members, medical students, associates, and the community. In commissioning Miya Ando to create Ascension Leaves, the lobby now has an identity. By siting the sculpture within the area of the circular stairwell, the work is viewed from multiple perspectives and is read as a cascade of shimmering leaves. It is a meditative sculpture that is both eye-catching and calming. Ascension Leaves is an ever-changing sculpture that responds to the environmental conditions of the space - changes in light and slightest currents of air, allowing viewers to have a different experience every time they see it. “When I created this sculpture, I was inspired by the metaphor of leaves on a tree and the human condition, “said Ando. “We are all unique individuals, fragile in our health and physicality, but strong and resilient and part of the larger community, just like leaves on a tree.”
The success of Ascension Leaves is due to the sound collaboration of The Montefiore Fine Art Program, Office of Engineering, and the artist. This commission is Ando’s first project for a healthcare environment. In conceptualizing her proposal, she visited the site multiple times, meeting with physicians and associates and spoke with patients and caregivers about their experiences. Ando gathered leaves at The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. She worked closely with the Office of Engineering to prepare the site to receive the sculpture. Upon entering the lobby, one encounters an unexpected and intriguing kinetic sculpture created of real leaves. Through hand-dying in varying saturations of cerulean blue, the viewer’s eye is drawn upward. The sculpture is activated by its surroundings and responds in kind. And the opportunity to view the sculpture from below at ground level and at close range on the second floor is captivating. Everyone seeks to touch the leaves. The artwork Ando has created is healing. Ascension Leaves is understood within the context of a healthcare environment and has a positive affect on the patient’s well-being.
The Montefiore Fine Art Program’s mission is to integrate high quality artwork into the fabric of the healthcare environment to foster a life-affirming, restorative and supportive environment for patients, families, students and staff. In any healthcare environment, people are more likely to feel stress and discomfort. Ascension Leaves serves as a positive distraction. Very well received by all, this artwork is meditative, accessible and inclusive. Ando saw a direct link between the human condition and the leaves on a tree, that of strength and resilience. This is the message Montefiore hopes to convey to all.