Sep 19, 2011

PROFILE | David Mach

David Mach, Crucifixion, 2011

When you think of biblical images immediately the traditional bronze, wood and marble sculptures come to mind. Artist David Mach puts a spin on the idea of a crucifixion piece by creating the same emotionally riveting scene out of everyday coat-hangers. When asked about his choice of materials Mach said "I don't make work out of bronze, I'm doing it with this unlikely, naff material because coat hangers are something you don't give a second thought to." 

He goes on to explain that he is reaching another audience, it's not meant to speak to the art critic but "you're trying to reach people who would rather set you on fire and chuck you in the river than pay attention to what you do." Mach is very open about having little to no religious affiliations, when talking about his biblical works he admits that he didn't have any particular faith based attraction to biblical references. 

 “I’m sure I’m going to get accused of hijacking something that I don’t really have massive feelings about. It’s not about me. It’s about what I’m making. If I’m asked for opinions I’ll give them, but look at the work and see if you can get something from there.”

Similar to his Crucifixion piece Mach's newest work features combining the ideas of biblical images and modern settings. This comes to life in the form of large scale collages that could depict anything from animals making their way to the ark in front of a giant mountain to an image of the inferno opening up underneath the Eiffel Tower.  

David Mach, Noah and the Ark, 2011

Mach is no stranger to the use of magazines in his art, in fact he began receiving recognition in the 90s for his HUGE installations featuring literally tons of magazines. In Adding Fuel to the Fire Mach arranged almost 100 tons of magazines to give the impression of smoke billowing out of a large truck and some cars. 

David Mach, Adding Fuel to the Fire, 1991
"I loved the idea that they weren't permanent at all, and I didn't have to go back and look  after them. I would have loved it more if someone had bought them, though. I started to change at that point, because I have no desire to make all these things and be poor. I want to do the absolute opposite of that."
 This change sparked the idea of Mach's match sculptures. He began with animals and basic human busts before eventually branching out to a larger than life bust of Satan. What is so interesting and compelling about the match sculptures is how difficult it is to discern what materials he is actually using. 

David Mach, The Devil, 2011

Mach moved into performance art by accident when a buyer accident sparked one of his match head sculptures engulfing the whole thing in flames. The buyer quickly put out the fire and called up Mach saying a terrible accident had happened. When Mach arrived he found he liked the ash grey tones and aged feeling of the piece better than its original pop art colors. 

Mach said that the fire, which is usually a way of destruction; actually became a ferocious act of creation. He now regularly sets fire to his match head sculptures as a form of performance art

-Marian Mabry


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