June 06 - September 19, 1997
galerie jerome de noirmont

exhibition release

     If David Mach became a famous and recognized artist, exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world, it is thanks to his monumental sculptures, fleeting constructions made from massive quantities of mass-producted objects or discarded materials, that denounce the overproduction and overconsumption in our western societies and draw our attention on the waste and on the excessive importance given to material possessions. Asserting the real place of the object in art, he thus exposes the dilemna of the artistic creation since Marcel Duchamp.

     The pre-eminence of the content over the form is one of the fondamental questions that bothers him, like many other british sculptors, artistically very different, but with whom he has been compared in the 80´s -Tony Cragg, Bill Woodrow...- and gathered with in a group called by defect rather then by style "New British Sculpture".




     Still a student at the Duncan Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, David Mach began to develop his very original conception of public sculpture, large scale temporary monuments, made from discarded materials and natural elements, as in the case of Camperdown Park, a huge carpet of fallen leaves hanged from a tree´s branches.

     After his arrival in London in 1979, where he studied at the Royal College of Art, he made his first pieces from massives quantities of identical mass-producted objects, coming out of surplus or scrap. Desirious of relating his artistic activity to the wide public´s experiences, and especially to factory works (that he experienced himself from 1975 to 1982), he transformed books, magazines, directories, bottles, tyres and other materials into highly recognizable images through simple procedures such as layering and stacking. His first important sculpture, entitled Silver Cloud III (1981), a life size replica of a Rolls & Royce, made of 15.000 books, characterizes the representative works he created then.

In the same mood, Polaris (1983), a submarine made of tyres, shown during the exhibition "British Sculpture 83" at the Hayward Gallery in London, organized thanks to the  support of a nuclear weapons´ producting firm, showed very well the difficult relations between David Mach and the organisms that support him or the industrial firms supplying him with materials necessary to his sculptures.

Also developed in the early 80´s, a separate serial of works was made with bottles, a favourite material in the artist´s work, as he had a job in a bottle factory to finance his studies. Thinking of England (1983), made with rows of bottles filled with coloured dyes, figures the Union Jack flag and the image of a woman lying on her back with legs wide open.

     From 1986 onwards
, when before he used these mass-producted materials to create demonstrative and representative works, David Mach evolves into exploring and delivering the "extrordinary messages" that these materials intrinsically convey. The almost liquid qualities of magazines´ glossy paper, the advertisements and news chancely treated transform themselves in whirls, in vortex, carrying and devouring such bulky objects as pianos, settees, cars and lorries -Fuel for the Fire (1986). "I think that these materials have their own energy and form their own flood".

     The artist uses then humour as a formidable weapon : "putting humour into art makes it probably even more serious". In Temple at Tyre (1984), representating a Parthenon made of 8.000 used tyres and piles of containers, he already showed his taste for parody, particularly of hugeness and monumental in architecture, essential background to the irony of his huge fleeting works. By the late 80´s, in the same spirit, he realized works where big objects, like cars, buses or trees´ trunks, seemed to hang into the air, sustained by tiny dolls, teddy bears or toys -If you go down to the woods today, exhibited at Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona in June 1987. In 1993, in the serial entitled Trophy Room, exhibited in Warsaw, he parodied trophies of stuffed animals, in which the animals seemed to deny the role they have been assumed.




     Among David Mach´s works exhibited at Gallery Jérôme de Noirmont from June 6th to July 26th, will be presented about fifteen human and animals´ masks (girafe, tiger, zebra), made from thousands matches skillfully sticked together, consumed or assembled in coloured patchworks, transforming sometimes themselves in targets. Some busts, a frame and a two meter high urn, made from very simple metallic coathangers, arouse once more respect in front of this vision´s ingenuity, incredulity in front of this manual work´s skill and a smile in front of these pieces´ inner humour. An installation realized with hundreds of magazines will spurt out from the windows and will break through the first floor´s gallery. Some drawings and collages of his different monumental projects will complete the exhibition.

     All the materials in the show are very ordinary, common, threwaway things that appear in our lives daily and which we discard without a second glance. They are important materials nonetheless, a common denominator accessible to rich man and poor man, to the strong and to the weak. They are representative of a human scale, of simply being a human being on this planet.

     They are highly personal object involving intimate acts, subsconscious acts. Coathangers, for example, might meet us at the end of each day. In a way, one hangs oneself on a hanger, removing formality, reducing responsability, perhaps removing responsability altogether.

     Newspapers/magazines and matches are even carried around with us and introducing us, anouncing our individuality and our ability to survive.

     All sculptures in the show The Last Detail are small but excessive and extravagant. David Mach revels in this extravagance, he wants each sculpture to be a Cecil B. De Mille epic and, by using each material litterally thousands of times, he forces or at least encourages the viewer to take a second look.