London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE today announced its latest contemporary art commission, Human Activity, by London-based artist Daniel Silver. Opening 25th July, Silver’s installation features a set of monumental, figurative works that speak to Silver’s fascination with the psychology and history of sculpture-making as well as his profound interest in ancient cultures and archaeology.
The 3.5-metre high works which comprise Human Activity originated as small clay objects made by Silver whilst observing a dancer in his studio. Sculpted by the artist to capture momentary postures and attitudes of the body in movement, a number of these diminutive figures have since been reconsidered and scaled in metalized polystyrene for the Bloomberg SPACE gallery.
Best known for his figurative sculptures, Silver is fascinated by the physical and emotional impact of the body and its representation. His practice is deeply influenced by the art of the classical world, Modernist sculpture, and psychoanalytic theory. Using natural materials such as bronze, marble, wood and clay, Silver’s works often appear as monuments or totems, as if belonging to an archaeological excavation. Like a contemporary Pygmalion, his figures seem to speak of the intimacy of touch and the memories inherited through material – exploring and manipulating the human figure, sometimes with force, at other times with the utmost sensitivity.
“My interest in handmade figures was sparked by visits to museums as a young child,”
“Here, I encountered the art of the ancient world and was fascinated by the latent sense of touch that was so powerfully communicated through the various historical approaches to producing clay figurines. From the Assyrians through to the Greeks and Romans, many figures still bear the marks of some long-gone human hand communicated across time, allowing for an understanding of the maker’s presence.”
Silver’s installation for London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE creates a surprisingly intimate encounter between the viewer and the artwork, evoking his early museum experiences. Here, one meets these huge, uncanny forms which speak of the past but are very much of the present. Adding to this sense of temporal blur, Silver has also applied the same colour used in the gallery’s artefact display case to the surrounding walls – creating an apparent archaeological context for the works. Beneath one’s feet, the Temple of Mithras acts as a constant dreamlike space between then and now.
Situated on the site of Bloomberg’s European headquarters, London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE returns the ruins of the 3rd century A.D. Roman Temple of Mithras to the location of its original discovery in the heart of the City – o ering visitors an immersive experience of the ancient temple as well as a chance to see a remarkable collection of Roman artefacts found during the building’s excavations. Expanding on Bloomberg’s legacy of support for new commissions by international artists, the Bloomberg SPACE gallery aims to present thoughtful works by contemporary artists whilst bringing fresh perspectives to the many-layered history of the site.
Daniel Silver, Human Activity
25 July, 2019 – 11 January, 2020 London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, 12 Walbrook, EC4N 8AA www.londonmithraeum.com
About The Artist
Daniel Silver was born in London in 1972. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and The Royal College of Art. His work was the subject of a major solo exhibition at The New Art Gallery Walsall earlier this year. Recent group exhibitions include Bumped Bodies, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London and Loss, Hydra School Projects, Hydra, Greece. Daniel Silver is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London. www.danielsilver.org