Unearthed Bronze Eroded Melpomene
United States born 1980
Unearthed Bronze Eroded Melpomene 2021
Raised in Miami, Florida, Daniel Arsham studied at the Cooper Union in New York, graduating from the School of Art in 2003. Today, his practice links art, architecture, film production and set design.
He is best known for his ‘future relics’, sculptural representations of mundane objects that appear as if they were recently unearthed in an archaeological excavation. Their purposely corroded surfaces and fragmentary forms evoke the ruinous state of much ancient statuary.
The artist attributes his interest in relics and ruins to a childhood experience when his family survived a hurricane that caused mayhem across the Southern United States in 1992, but suffered the destruction of their family home.
While many of Arsham’s sculptures appear as classical relics, his work examines the process of renewal as signified in Unearthed Bronze Eroded Melpomene by protruding crystalline elements that denote regeneration.
As the muse of tragedy in Greek mythology, Melpomene is the subject of many ancient statues and wall paintings including a notable example at Pompeii. The idea for this particular work arose when Arsham was granted access to old plaster foundry moulds of classical statuary held in storage at the Louvre Museum, Paris. The original of the head, dated around 50 BCE and long assumed to be Melpomene, was excavated in the 15th century.