Rock Formations is composed of a series of monumental sculptural works as well as a number of smaller pieces all of which display the artist’s ongoing obsession with the sculpture of the ancient world. The art of ancient Greece is particularly important in Silver’s practice and many of the works in this exhibition have evolved from the study of statues and busts in the National Archeological Museum of Athens. Such objects possess an intense clarity of purpose, a purpose largely lost to us but one which would have been instantly familiar to their contemporary audiences. Silver sees them now as the products of making and re-making; by the original artist, by the weathering of time and by their re-presentation as a piece of history in a museum. This exhibition calls us to examine our own connection to these images of heroes, warriors and myths, and makes them recognizable once more.
The central works in the exhibition are composed of couplings or collages of stone and bronze heads placed directly on large pieces of Carrara marble. The marble was found by Silver in a stone yard in the Italian town Pietrasanta, choosing pieces that had been quarried many years ago and then seemingly forgotten and left to weather in the undergrowth. A few of the stones are carved with puzzling numbers or a pattern of chisel marks, as physical objects they have a distinct attitude; a poise that somehow evokes the human body, perhaps the slope of a shoulder or the thrust of a torso. On top of these plinths/bodies rest heads which begin in the studio as interpretations of certain ancient faces, but through the artist’s handling of the original clay or stone they have evolved into objects displaying a physical precision and individuality that confronts the viewer on an almost emotional level.
As a counterpoint to these large pieces, the exhibition contains a number of more intimate busts made in white marble. These works began life as readymade copies of classical heads which Silver has worked on further; eye sockets are widened, noses sharpened, flaws and veins within the rock are revealed and celebrated; they have the appearance of objects in the process of being worn away.
Daniel Silver was born in London in 1972, he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and The Royal College of Art. Recent projects include: A Thousand Doors, curated by Whitechapel Gallery and NEON (Gennadius Library) Athens, Gr. 2014; Dig, Odeon Site London, curated by Artangel, 2013; Museo Carlo Zauli, Faenza, It. 2012; Coming Together, Kunsthaus Glarus, Ch. 2011 and Heads, Camden Art Centre 2007.
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