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Tim Silver

Untitled (adrift)  2004

inkjet prints on watercolour paper, watercolour pigment

11 parts: boat 38 × 13.5 × 10cm; 10 prints each image 47 × 65cm

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with the assistance of Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM, 2004


About the Artwork

In a poetic interplay between painting, sculpture and photography Untitled (adrift) documents the demise of an object. A small rowboat, the subject of many a watercolour enthusiast, is moulded from solid watercolour pigment and displayed on a plinth. Although it appears stable, a similar boat is documented with photographs as it dissolves, rather than floating on water. The ten photographic prints on watercolour paper can be shown together as a series, although when first exhibited they were displayed sequentially, so that the process of disintegration corresponded to the exhibition period.
Tim Silver frequently creates works from fragile and unconventional materials such as crayon, blood, bubble gum, matches, chocolate, cheese and fairy floss. These common and ephemeral materials are transposed to new forms, addressing notions of transience and the ageing process. The artist exposes the natural fallibility of his objects, suggesting that decay and deterioration is inherent in their nature, and indeed in all materials. Rather than being nihilistic in sentiment however the works evoke the preciousness of each fleeting instant. Several, including skateboards, motorbikes, cars and planes also imply movement, and possibly freedom. They transport the viewer through imagination, with skid-marks or a trail of smoke and flame, and the process of their own destruction give life to the artwork. In contrast the boat fails to move, or even float in its own medium, suggesting the obsolescence of landscape painting, purposeless and adrift. The meaning of the work is fluid and symbolic, as watercolour is becomes sculpture and photography rather than painting. This decomposition nevertheless activates the work, celebrating the exchange between substances of pigment and water and the process of transformation and change.

Tim Silver

– About the artist

Born 1974, Hobart. Lives and works New York.

Tim Silver’s work is predominantly time-based, using everyday materials cast as sculptures that slowly decay and disintegrate – a process he records through photography and film.

Silver’s solo exhibitions include i’ve been losing you, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2015); Tim Silver, Ten Cubed Collection, Melbourne (2013); Everything in its right place, BREENSPACE, Sydney (2011); Untitled (Sleep), MOP, Sydney (2010); The Tuvaluan Project, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2008); and Killing Me Softly, GRANTPIRRIE, Sydney (2006).

Group shows include For an Image, Faster Than Light, Yinchuan Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China (2016); We used to talk about love, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2013); Parallel Collisions: 12th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2012); Look Closely Now, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Lake Macquarie (2012); New Acquisitions in Context, MCA, Sydney (2010); I-lands, Kunsthallen brandts, Copenhagen (2009); Snap Freeze: Still Life Now, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria (2007); and 47th Art Salon, City of Belgrade, Serbia (2006).

Silver’s work is held in a number of collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina; and University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane.

Learn more
– Other collection works by the artist

– View also


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