Located in front of the main entrance to the Music Building, Alfred Blundell donated the funds to commission this sculpture for UBC in 1968; the design was selected by jury in a closed competition. Class created the work specifically for this site in UBC’s fine arts precinct, where students study music, fine art, theatre and architecture. The sculpture’s two free-standing forms complement one another and evoke the close relationship between the arts disciplines. Class envisioned that Tuning Fork would dominate the plaza and rise above the horizontal line of the covered walkway, which connects the buildings in the precinct.
The artist fabricated the sculpture in Corten steel, anticipating the deep purple rust colour that it would quickly adopt. The work presents different configurations depending on where the viewer is positioned, with the twisting forms seeming to suggest a dance. Musicians will also recognize this form as an abstracted tuning fork, a two-pronged tool made of steel, which resonates at a constant pitch when struck. Class intended the work to bring to mind “a giant tuning fork large enough to have served Pythagoras and his theory of music and the harmony of the spheres” (Artist statement, 1967).
See Concerto for a biography of Gerhard Class.