Tim Silver | Everything in its right place

9 September – 8 October 2011

Tim Silver Everything in its right place, 2011 installation view

Everything in its right place features the artist cast in the classic form of the bust. At first statuesque, the artist’s face seems calm and dusted with frost as if released from a cryogenic time capsule. The slow degradation of the figure is documented in a series of photographs. Cast in synthetic varieties of wood filler, mahogany and teak, to pine and white Spakfilla, materials conventionally used to conceal imperfections, have been manipulated to create self-portraits.

The images are at once beautiful and haunting. Their apparent aging is visceral as we witness cracks and crevices emerging in their surfaces, and the heads tilt forward under the burden of their own weight. Each figure responds differently to exposure to the air and the passing of time – as one bust creases and shrinks, another is overrun with its own fault lines, before crumbling down to an abstract pile of rubble.

These works explore our relationship with antiquity, and the importance we afford the past. It is perhaps also significant that the figure of the contemporary artist is subjected to this process, a figure in constant dialogue with conceptions of the future and debts to the past.

In correspondence with the photographic series is a set of ambiguous forms cast in black polyurethane. The forms have been taken from tree burls, a growth produced by the tree itself when it has been damaged or irritated, what the artist describes as points of trauma. These amorphous growths are at odds with the grain of the continuing life of the tree. Silver focuses on the formal properties of these aberrations. The interplay between synthetic and natural materials, and between ancient mimesis and living figures underpin the work in this exhibition.