‘I try to carry and condense the whole world into these human-like forms when I make them. I want my sculptures to communicate something of what it is to be human.’
The sculptures of Daniel Silver (b. 1972, London) explore the many forms and presences of the human body. His practice is influenced by the art of the ancient world, modernism and Freudian psychoanalytic theory. Silver uses concrete, bronze, marble, stone, wood and clay and his works often manifest as monuments or fragments. He uses sculpture to explore what it is to be human, both physically and psychologically.
Daniel 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. For his 2022 solo exhibition at Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, Silver developed a series of new works using oil paint and ceramic and he has continued to explore and combine these two seemingly contradictory mediums since. The artist’s new busts are often inspired by Greco Roman sculpture observed in The Israel Museum in Jerusalem; such artifacts are a persistent influence, drawn as he is to their incomplete nature. The painted surfaces of the ceramics allow his sculptures to speak in a new way, one encounters them not just as objects but also as surfaces; the paint makes them more specific and creates a certain restless energy. Silver makes these works in ‘families’ so there is a relationship between them, yet they can exist in other scenarios as well, reflecting and communicating in different ways, alone or together, depending on the context.