At Golden Square the visitor is greeted by an installation of five Herm-like figures carved in marble and onyx from the celebrated Serravezza and Pietrasanta stone yards in Italy. These works originate from Silver’s interest in the Mannequin; from its origins in classical sculpture to such uses today as in window displays. Silver’s figures are observed from shop mannequins that he has draped in fabric and then recreated in marble; their clothed, armless bodies bringing to mind Rodin’s Monument to Balzac. The sculptures are grouped as if they are engaged in some sort of silent discussion. They are defined by a certain stillness which is another trait of classical sculpture.
A second installation in the rear part of the gallery is composed of actual mannequins made for Silver by Rootstein, the world’s leading mannequin manufacturer (Adel Rootstein, the company’s founder was in fact related to the artist). These figures which have been further manipulated and changed by Silver are caught in various hieratic poses. The group appears to be dancing; their movements ranging from fluid to staccato. They present an uncanny crowd; a curious collision between a night-club scene and Degas’ painting Young Spartans Exercising.
Forming a backdrop to these distinctive figure-groups are a number of wall hangings made using clothing fabrics. These works are composed of cut-outs created while observing a dancer in the studio. The immediate and roughly cut shapes are a response to a body moving in time and space.
At Soho Square there is a complete change of scale in the pieces on show. Here Silver presents a collection of sculptural works created swiftly through direct carving in marble or modeling in clay. In the ground floor gallery a number of sculptures rest on a fabric draped table. These abstract pieces are made from different kinds of marble, their shapes created without preconception as a response to the inherent qualities of each individual stone.
A number of tables in the basement gallery provide a plain on which to display small ceramic figures. These bring us back to the life studio, modeled as they are directly from a dancer. Possessing the immediacy of the artist’s experience they are performative, gestured and emotional – a free translation from one sense to another.
Daniel Silver was born in London in 1972. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and The Royal College of Art. Recent group exhibitions include Bumped Bodies, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London and Loss, Hydra School Projects, Hydra, Greece. His work will be the subject of a major solo exhibition at The New Art Gallery Walsall in early 2019.