David Mach RA, 'Silver Streak' Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColourIf there's one work that has captured the public's imagination in this year's Summer Exhibition it's the nine-foot sculpture of a gorilla by David Mach RA. Constructed entirely from coat hangers, 'Silver Streak' (pictured left) looms threateningly over Gallery VII, where it is one of the most popular exhibits with visitors.
In addition to his sculptural appropriation of everyday materials (coat hangers, match heads and scrabble tiles), the Scottish artist is also known for his large-scale collages. Both feature in a major new project launched today in Edinburgh.
Marking the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, a series of four coat hanger crucifixions will be displayed in Edinburgh City Art Centre during summer of 2011. The first has now been unveiled, suspended from steel supports outside St Giles Church in the city.
A number of large collages will also feature in the project. One work in the series, 'Babel Towers', can currently be seen alongside 'Silver Streak' in the Summer Exhibition. A kaleidoscopic array of different architectural styles, the tower of the title is grounded in Mach's home turf of Forest Hill in south London: "I actually photographed my street," he explains.
What is it about this story that intrigues him?
"I'm no expert on the Bible, but it seems to me quite mean… Man's doing quite well for himself and starts building all this stuff, and God thinks he's being a bit of a smart arse and he's going to nip that in the bud. It sounds very Scottish, somehow - 'you're getting too big for your boots, I'm going to sort you out'."
In the video below, Mach explains how the Biblical series came about and why the subject matter appeals: