‘I think all my interest in archaeology and work that was made a thousand years ago, thousands of years ago, still carries that humanity in it, and I hope my objects will carry this in them in times to come.’
The sculptures of Daniel Silver (b. 1972, London) explore the many forms and iterations of the human body. His practice is influenced by the art of ancient Greece, modernism and Freudian psychoanalytic theory. Silver uses concrete, bronze, marble, stone, wood and clay, and his sculptures often manifest as monuments or fragments, as if belonging to an archaeological excavation. Silver moves restlessly between styles, always examining the physical and emotional impact of the body and its representations.
Silver's 2013 installation Dig, an Artangel commission, took place in a derelict London cinema, where he presented an imagined archaeological dig of sculptures looking both ancient and futuristic, conceived by the artist as a ‘history of sculpture’. In 2019, a commission for London’s Bloomberg Space resulted in a set of monumental, figurative works that spoke of the artist’s fascination with psychology as well as his profound interest in ancient cultures and archaeology. Recently, Silver has made a group of sculptures constructed from segments of unglazed ceramic, which he finishes with oil paint. In parallel with these sculptures, which he calls 'totems', the artist has created a series of ceramic heads. Once fired, each head is painted with oils, allowing the pigments to interact with the unglazed ceramic to create tactile surfaces and intimate expressions. Though his figures are fictitious, Silver regards them as familiar characters from anyone’s family. ‘I try to condense and carry the whole world into a person when I make them’, he says.