Rising and Falling

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Client: Holocaust Museum Houston

Location: Houston, TX, United States

Completion date: Jan 01, 2019

Project Team

Artist

Page Kempner

Foundry

Deep in the Heart

Art Consultant

Lea Weingarten

Weingarten Art Group

Client

Kelly Zuniga

Holocaust Museum Houston

Project Manager

Ady Avivi

Weingarten Art Group

Overview

Sited at Holocaust Museum Houston, this bronze, totemic sculpture by Houston-based artist Page Kempner puts forth a swirl of soft, grey patinated leaves that appear to fall down along a stele, but never quite reach the ground. The leaves drift down, cross the edge, and rise back up on the opposite plane. Located in the Eric Alexander “Garden of Hope”, a place of solace and reflection and home to the Museum’s Children’s Memorial, the falling leaves evoke the loss of so many innocent children during the Holocaust. Aspirationally, their ascent embodies their memory being sustained forever aloft by sites of remembrance (like the Holocaust Museum Houston) that honor their lives and histories. This is the first ever public commission for this artist.

Goals

The Holocaust Museum Houston sought Texas artists to submit designs for a permanent installation at the newly expanded and renovated Museum building. The sensibility of the piece was meant to celebrate themes of hope, empowerment, and resiliency and to emulate the spirit of growth and progress fostered by the Museum’s vision. The sculpture site is located in the outdoor gardens on the Museum grounds, surrounded by a spiral walkway, bench seating, a water feature, and has high visibility from both inside the Museum and the exterior.

Process

Page Kempner is a sculptor working primarily in a lost wax process to create cast bronze sculptures. Kempner created a proposal imagining how the leaves would fall and rise, where the piece would sit in the site and how it would be viewed from varying perspectives within the museum. After creating a larger-than-life wax original of the artwork, Kempner delivered the wax construction to her foundry to be cast into bronze. She hand finished the sculpture by applying a brown patina to the stele and a silver-grey palette to the leaves.