Case Study

When the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice acquired a narrow strip of land to extend its sculpture garden, Joanna Migdal was invited to design a sundial to be set in it. In 2015, she visited the overgrown site to establish the height of the surrounding trees and roofs, and to identify positions touched by the sun both in summer and winter.

Returning to her studio, she decided to create a Cubist sculpture, that combined an accurate timekeeper with a moving memorial to Peggy Guggenheim. By April 2016, she had fashioned a miniature model and taken it to Venice. It was immediately approved. While there, she made a full-sized mock-up of cardboard, to give an impression of the sculpture in situ. She further suggested that the marble paving of the new garden might be laid on an exact north/south line, so that all shadows cast within it, would form part of the solar sculpture.  This too was agreed.

In February 2017, Joanna commissioned a high quality MDF prototype, to ensure that the challenging design could be successfully constructed in bronze. That done, the parts were made with meticulous accuracy in metal, the dials themselves being painstakingly hand-engraved. The sculpture was assembled and patinated. Travelling again to Venice, Joanna used a precision timekeeper and the sun to mark out the alignment for both sculpture and marble paving. At the same time she commissioned the marble base for the dial from Vicenza. The garden being complete in April 2017, the dial was packed and sent by lorry to Italy. There, again with the assistance of the sun and the muscles of the Guggenheim staff, Joanna aligned it and with meticulous care, fixed it permanently in position.