Last August I wrote about Scottish artist David Mach’s much acclaimed “Precious Light” exhibition, a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. (His crucifixion sculpture, Die Harder, is one of my favorite crucifixion sculptures of all time.) Well, over the next two weekends, Mach will be offering about 100 of his works for sale at his studio in London.
The dates are May 12–13, May 19–20, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Address: Studio 16, 21 Wren Street, London, WC1X 0HF. And on Saturday, May 19, Mach will be presenting a talk on his work at 6:30 p.m. at FH Space, 9 Havelock Walk, London.
Mach has said that he is not religious, but that he is “struck by how much the King James Bible is about how we speak now.” The 70+ collages that made up the exhibition last year, and that will be exhibited in his studio this month, address the biblical/universal themes of love, faith, fear, suffering, and sacrifice. Destruction and judgment also factor heavily in his work—in his several depictions of the flood, Egyptian plagues, the Battle of Jericho, and hell, for example. Thirty-two of the collages from this series can be viewed on Mach’s website.
As is only fitting for such epic stories as make up the history of God’s people, Mach works on an epic scale. He also contemporizes the stories, setting them in today’s major cities. Many of the collages contain recognizable landmarks: the Eiffel Tower, the Disneyland Castle, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Rialto in Venice, and so on.
Mach’s Nativity is set against the Florence skyline, with the Ponte Vecchio and Duomo visible in the distance. Mary gives birth to Jesus outdoors on a torn mattress atop a trash pile, before an uninterested audience of stray animals that includes cats, mice, a goose, and a lamb. This is a junkyard birth. Joseph makes a temporary shelter for his wife and newborn child, draping a sheet over some telephone poles.
Mach’s Resurrection is set in the Middle East. Two gigantic bloody feet fill up half the frame. Jesus has just emerged from his grave, victorious over death, and yet a caravan of people (tourists?) rides right by, oblivious.
Other Jesus-themed collages from the “Precious Light” series include The Money Lenders, Jesus Walks on Water, The Agony and the Ecstasy (Golgotha), and an 8 x 24-foot decoupage of the Last Supper, which features images of the board of vente-privee.com, a French online retailer, as Jesus and his twelve disciples.