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Tim Silver

Untitled (What If I Drive?)  2009

cast wax crayons

dimensions variable

Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by the artist, 2010


About the Artwork

The miniature cars in Untitled (What if I Drive?), with their tiny side mirrors and windscreen wipers, have been made with extraordinary attention to detail from a surprising material – melted and cast crayons. Tim Silver blurs the boundaries between drawing and sculpture in this work, transforming the crayon – the medium of two-dimensional drawing – into the content of a three-dimensional sculpture. The cars, like those in the real world, do their own mark-making; leaving traces of their tyre tracks on the walls and floor of the installation. Their ‘burn-outs’ are part of its playfulness, suggesting an unseen performance by the cars as they veer off the road and strike out across the gallery wall.

Silver uses impermanent materials that rapidly deteriorate, such as chocolate, hair gel and watercolour pigment, as the basis of his sculptural and photographic works. The process of their decomposition through handling, display, immersion and exposure is an important element in his practice. Each time Untitled (What if I Drive?) is presented, the car tyres and undercarriage are further worn down and drawn away. The cars’ increasing disintegration draws our attention to the inexorable passage of time and its inescapable ageing effects. Silver photographs or films this process to document the gradual deterioration of his work. He is interested in the parallels between the processes of casting and photography, each ‘taking the surface of one thing and putting it on another’. In this transformation of the material into the immaterial, Silver turns drawing into sculpture and then into the single instant of the photograph that records the passage of time and its attendant processes of decay and disintegration. That instant will remain long after the object has completed its passage into oblivion, from form to formlessness.

Tim Silver

– About the artist

Born 1974, Hobart. Lives and works Sydney.

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.

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