Daniel Silver’s DIG

Posted on October 5, 2013



A version of this review was published as TimeOut’s Reader’s Review of the Week on Tuesday 15 October.

I wish I’d had the chance to discover this exhibition by accident.

Inhabiting two floors of a building site off Tottenham Court Road, this latest exhibition from Artangel builds on their reputation for taking art into unexpected places. However, there is an exciting sense of discovery to DIG that is undeniably potent even on a planned visit, and this is probably to do with the fact that archeology is a strong theme.

Daniel Silver’s exhibition is a perfect realisation of Artangel’s mission to create projects that are “given shape by a particular place and time”. Fragments of sculptures (or sculptures of fragments) – mostly figurative – are lined up in the open cavern, their bland plaster makeup reflecting the bare concrete constitution of the site. There’s something intensely satisfying in their regulatory arrangement, it’s as if they are artefacts freshly excavated or are somehow components about to be used in the rebuilding.

On the sunken floor below, more imposing sculptures are set into the flooded ground. Monumental plinths with heads, they seem as integral and permanent as the structural columns.

Artangel’s accompanying literature explains how Silver was inspired by a collection of sculptures acquired by Sigmund Freud, and there are deeper layers of meaning to explore in terms of ‘excavation’ – ie of the mind. Although there’s a lot to take from this without delving into psychoanalytics.