An abandoned, overgrown landscape in central London is the site for a new Artangel commission by sculptor Daniel Silver. Evidence from some kind of archaeological endeavour is lying around; figures and fragments, pieced together. Made in a range of materials including marble, plaster and terracotta, the figures have been worked by hand; modelled and then eroded and deformed. Some seem to have strange, unnatural growths. They appear to be both ancient and modern.
What were they doing here? What are they doing here? What belief system might they embody or watch over? Are they sculptures of gods or men? Like unearthed objects from an unfamiliar culture, Silver’s sculptures do not give up their secrets easily.
One starting point for Dig was Silver’s fascination with Freud’s collection of sculptures. Freud kept an ‘audience’ of some of his favourite figurines – Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Asian and African – on his desk in his consulting room, watching over him and his patients as they dug deep within themselves. Freud often referred to archaeology as a metaphor for his own practice of uncovering desires and phobias.
There appear to be different layers of excavation in Silver’s project: digging into the role of figures of worship, idols and fetishes within different cultures, including our own; and working through the evolution of sculptural forms across time and place, losing old powers and acquiring new meanings as they are fragmented, pieced together and multiplied.
Built in the early 20th century and originally the site of one of London’s largest Odeon Cinemas, the Grafton Way site has been empty for many years. Dig is Artangel’s most recent site-specific commission with a young British sculptor. Over the past two decades, other commissions have included Susan Philipsz’s Surround Me in 2008 in the City of London; Roger Hiorns’s Seizure, 2008 / 2013 originally in a council bedsit in South London and recently relocated to Yorkshire Sculpture Park; and Rachel Whiteread’s House, completed 20 years ago in October 1993.
Dig is commissioned and produced by Artangel with the support of The Henry Moore Foundation. With thanks to University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
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DANIEL SILVER is a sculptor born in London in 1972, raised in Jerusalem, moving back to London in 1994. He has exhibited extensively across the UK and internationally. Solo presentations include Coming Together, Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (2011); The Smoking Silver Father Figures, Frieze Sculpture Park, London (2010); Frieze Art Fair, London (2009); and Heads, Camden Arts Centre, London (2007). Group exhibitions include We Will Live, We Will See, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2011); Savage Messiah, Rob Tufnell at 1 Sutton Lane, London (2011); No New Thing Under the Sun, Royal Academy, London (2010); and Newspeak: British Art Now, State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg and Saatchi Gallery, London (2009). Silver is the recipient of numerous awards including the Henry Moore Artist in Residency (2005), Rome Scholar in Fine Arts (2002) and Credit Suisse First Boston Award (2001). He holds a BA Fine Art from Slade School of Art and an MA Fine Art Sculpture from the Royal College of Art.
ARTANGEL commissions and produces exceptional projects by outstanding contemporary artists. Over the past two decades, Artangel projects have materialised in a wide range of different sites and situations and in countless forms of media, from film and video to sculpture and sound installations. Artangel has generated some of the most talked-about and contentious art of recent times, including work by Francis Alÿs, Clio Barnard, Matthew Barney, Jeremy Deller, Douglas Gordon, Roger Hiorns, Roni Horn, Michael Landy, Mike Kelley, Steve McQueen, Susan Philipsz, Gregor Schneider, Rachel Whiteread and Robert Wilson.
Daniel Silver Exhibition Dates: 12 September – 3 November 2013 Opening Times: 11am – 6 pm Tuesday – Sunday Admission: Free Venue: 24 Grafton Way, London WC1E 6DB Website: www.artangel.org.uk
Top Photo: © Artlyst 2010 Daniel Silver at Frieze Art Fair sculpture garden Below: ‘Dig’2013