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Bringing British Summer Time into being

Bringing British Summer Time into being
Links Signs has sponsored and installed an artwork in London by Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger, who is pictured top right above. The art installation, at Chiswick House and Gardens, forms part of the transformation of the 18th Century English Heritage’s site from public space into a West London cultural hotspot.

Links Signs have worked with the artist and curator to install the artwork that forms part of Bring into Being, an experimental programme of art commissions, events, and workshops, marking the re-opening of Chiswick House in London, UK. All signage for the re-opening has also been sponsored by Links Signs.

Mark Wallinger’s piece, entitled British Summer Time, is a large-scale human analemmatic sundial that features a release of bubbles into the air to mark each hour, whilst a familiar waltz is played. Opened to the public on 27th May, the installation will be in place until 31 October 2021.

Tony Kidby, the Managing Director of Links Signs, has worked with Mark Wallinger and Chiswick House since the conception of the project, interpreting Wallinger’s brief, recommending and sourcing suitable materials and overseeing the complex installation of the artwork on site with the Links’ team. The 65 acres of Gardens at Chiswick House form part of the English Heritage site and are subject to very stringent guidelines that had to taken into consideration when installing the sundial.

Kidby said, “We were honoured to be asked to work on another public art project with Mark Wallinger and the great team at Chiswick House. We have had the pleasure of working with Mark before on the iconic Labyrinth project on the London Underground in 2013 and we jumped at the opportunity to sponsor this project for him at Chiswick House. It was a complicated brief and the creation of the sundial on-site required measuring that truly tested our mathematical abilities. It was a memorable and fantastic experience!  Furthermore, Mark told me he was absolutely thrilled with British Summer Time and so are we.”

The analemmatic sundial was precisely calculated to the coordinates of Chiswick House Exedra and was laid out as a vast ellipse, measuring 20 metres by seven metres, with stone spheres marking the hours of the day. Each stone sphere weighs in at 20kg and is held in place with concealed heavy-duty steel plates. To fully experience British Summer Time visitors are invited to stand on a central series of flagstones engraved with the months of the year. When standing on the current month, the shadow they cast points towards the correct time of day, thus positioning them within the Earth’s daily and yearly cycle around the sun. British Summer Time is a celebration of the summer months and the joy of being outside in the sunshine, while the fragility of the bubbles and ephemerality of shadows are evocative of the transience of all such moments.

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House and Gardens Trust commented: We knew that we were in safe hands with the Links Signs team, which has vast experience with installing public art. Working closely with our curator Mariam Zulfiqar and the artist Mark Wallinger, the team has installed an artwork that is both delightfully interactive and thought provoking. It’s a fantastic addition to our visitor experience.”

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