Richard Edelman

August 20, 2014


SUNDIAL Installed at Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


THE SUNDIAL IS DEDICATED TO:75TH ANNIVERSARY OF BOERNER BOTANICAL GARDENS30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FRIENDS OF BOERNER BOTANICAL GARDENS.        Sundials are traditional sculptural elements in horticultural environments, perhaps because they call on natural elements such as the sun and shadows and seasonal changes. Today sundials speak of time in two ways: by marking the hours and also by evoking antiquity in their ancient means of doing so. This sundial is not actually calibrated to tell time, but to suggest its eternal presence by reminding the viewer of moving shadows which surround the sundial…and ourselves...and the ever changing gardens around us. The SUNDIAL further evokes the passage of time in its utilization of old railroad rails for the elements. Each of the three rails is marked with the original steel mill and railroad brands indicating three very different but important years …1916, 1940, and 1970. The SUNDIAL is designed to maximize the phenomenon of parallax as the viewer circles it. Parallax is the phenomenon of distant objects seeming to be fixed while closer ones seem to move as the viewers head changes position. Through parallax astronomers can measure distances to the stars. The rails in SUNDIAL seem to move suddenly and even discontinuously when the viewer circles the sculpture for this reason. Einstein was concerned with the stars, with gravity, and with the bending of time and space. In an eclipse in 1919 his predictions of the bending of star rays as they passed the sun were proven true. Note that the two rails in SUNDIAL, which point in more or less the same direction, are not actually parallel but point inwards slightly. This angle is in appreciation of Einstein’s prediction in sculptural terms.