11 June – 25 September 2022
Edinburgh Festivals Exhibition
This June the Fruitmarket, Edinburgh opens the first exhibition in Scotland by London based artist Daniel Silver. The exhibition will span both the Exhibition Galleries and the Warehouse and is a celebration of Silver’s recent shift to working with clay. Painted ceramic figures ranging in scale from table top sized to large, abstracted totems/vessels will be exhibited alongside new works on paper. Silver’s work speaks of human connection; of the process of looking and being, and being looked at; of the intimacy of touch. Working sometimes from life, sometimes referencing ancient and modern sculpture, his sculptures and works on paper explore the human figure as it exists in and moves through the world.
The invitation to make an exhibition for the Fruitmarket began with a sequence of work which Silver made in 2018 – small sculptures made swiftly in clay (a new material for the artist at that point) in response to the movements of a dancer. At once representation and process, these sculptures capture the essential nature of both the body and the material in which it is sketched. Since those first dancers of 2018, Silver has developed his understanding of clay and what it can do, and he has started to paint on it, bringing his particular understanding of the body in motion to both the modelling and the painting process.
The Fruitmarket’s exhibition opens with a group of busts arranged together in two tiers. They are reminiscent of a jury, a stadium crowd, people waiting at a bus stop. They look at each other, at us, and out to the gallery bookshop and the city streets beyond. They are joined by a selection of works on paper; heads painted in swift, deft gestures.
In the light of the Fruitmarket’s airy upper exhibition gallery, meanwhile, is a selection of small, painted clay figures and heads that Silver describes as being like an action you do with the hand – figures swiftly modelled, fired then painted on, the movement of the brush fusing with that of the hand and eye. The sculptures are grouped together on tables that have legs like people do, with large, lumpen feet. The effect is of matter coming into being, as though the very tables have life and spirit.
The Fruitmarket’s new Warehouse – a steel framed, brick built former fruit and vegetable warehouse that in its overt materiality bears witness to the origins of the gallery’s ‘white cube’ spaces next door – hosts a group of commanding, abstracted clay figures which will form relationships with each other, with the space and with us as we move around and between them, raising questions about what it is to look.
Fiona Bradley, Director, Fruitmarket, said, 'I am so pleased to be able to bring Daniel Silver’s work to Scotland for the first time this summer. His work is about what it is to look and be looked at as much as it is about what things look like – his sculptures set up a generous, open exchange with the viewer'.