Rooted in the tradition of sculpture and a strong interest in figuration, the practice of Daniel Silver (*1972, London, where he lives and works) represents a unique contemporary take on a centuries-old visual language. The starting point of the exhibition, entitled “Chorus and the Walking Tables,” is a set of 3rd-century CE funerary busts made of soft limestone from the Greco-Roman period, that was found in Beit She'an and is on permanent display at the archaeology wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Growing up in Jerusalem, the artist visited the Museum numerous times and his encounter with these busts has stayed with him since, becoming an important reference point in his artistic language.
In the most recent chapter of his practice – which fuses influences from ancient Greece, modernism, and psychoanalytic theory – the artist continues to examine the physical and emotional impact of the body and its representations. Made from unglazed clay and subsequently painted with oil paint, these works manifest themselves in the exhibition space as “fragmented monuments,” as if belonging to a metaphysical archaeological excavation. At the same time, these sculpted figures come to life, so to speak, through the act of being painted, a conceptual decision through which Silver unites two visual languages that have been separated by historical misunderstandings for a very long time. Despite how they were found and reinterpreted – most famously during the Renaissance and Neoclassicism – Greek sculptures are now known to have been vividly painted in color, a historical fact that Silver handily acknowledges here.
In this new body of work, the artist continues to explore his interest in the human figure and modernism while also celebrating his deep connection to a place that has played a pivotal role in his development. This exhibition, therefore, brings about a new understanding of the notion of “site-specificity,” whereby the term can refer to a geographic site, but also to a place or a dwelling in the memory of the artist and, in turn, in the memory of the people who experience it.
The word “Chorus” – which derives from the Greek Khoros [χορός] and today still means an organized group of dancers and singers (choir), as well as the part of a song or a hymn recurring at intervals – has been adopted by Silver as a way to define a daydream state, a state of being part of a singing group but then, in the middle, drifting off, going on your own, ‘singing your own song.’
“Daniel Silver: Chorus and the Walking Tables” is curated by Nicola Trezzi and is supported by Wendy Fisher and the Kirsh Foundation, Suzy Shammah, Frith Street Gallery, London, and Ongi and Danny Ungar. Additional support by Iris Rywkind Ben Zour and Eran Ben Zour. Hospitality provided by Outset Contemporary Art Fund.
“Daniel Silver: Chorus and the Walking Tables,” 2022. Installation views at CCA Tel Aviv-Yafo. Photo: Daniel Hanoch
Daniel Silver: Chorus and the Walking Tables
January 21, 2023
November 24, 2022