Daniel Silver’s extraordinary new body of work consists of over 100 life-size stone heads, reinventing the classical portrait bust for the 21st century.
Silver’s monumental collective portrait combines styles and motifs from different historical moments and cultures, drawing on both African tribal sculpture and early 20th century work by Picasso, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brezska.
Created in Zimbabwe with a group of fellow artists in 2006, the sculptures are based upon images of condemned men in the United States; they possess an uncanny power of which Silver remarks ‘the figures are witnesses – they all know that something has happened, and have a collective knowledge or memory. They seem to share this with us, but do not share it at the same time.’
In their presence we feel a glimmer of recognition, maybe as their features have been reproduced through the world’s media. Silver’s objects possess a darkly totemic power, though their features seem almost eroded away by forces beyond their control.