David Mach - Precious Light: a celebration of the King James Bible 1611-2011

David Mach - Precious Light: a celebration of the King James Bible 1611-2011


The City Art Centre has joined forces with internationally renowned Scottish artist David Mach for one of the most explosive exhibitions of 2011. Mach, famed for his dynamic large scale collages, sculptures and audacious installations, tackles his biggest subject yet…the Bible.

Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm, Sunday 12pm - 5pm

Who is this for? - All
Dates: 30 July 2011 - 16 October 2011
Cost: £5.00 for adults, £3.50 for concessions, £2.50 for children aged 5 to 15, and £11.00 for a family ticket for two adults and two children or one adult and three children.Season tickets: £8 for adults, £5.50 for concessions, £4.00 for children and £17.50 for families.

The exhibition, over three years in the making, explores the themes and legacy of the King James Bible in the year of its 400th anniversary. The text is widely regarded as one of the most influential works in the English language. Precious Light, which represents the Turner-nominated artist’s largest solo show to date, is a contemporary imagining of the King James Bible in collage, sculpture and words.

The exhibition will feature over seventy of Mach’s trademark collages and large-scale sculptures composed of thousands of mass produced objects such as coat hangers and match-heads. His intricate collages, cinematic in scale, use images sourced from magazines and other mass media to build complex composite pictures that combine the familiarity of popular culture and the Biblical themes portrayed.

David Mach will move his working studio from London to Edinburgh for the duration of the exhibition. Relocated to an entire floor of The City Art Centre, visitors will be able to view the artist and his team as they create a decoupage depiction of the Last Supper.

A further floor will focus on the words and language of the King James Bible, with extracts from the Old and New Testaments lining the gallery walls, a display of early editions of the Bible, and an audiovisual exploration of the text, Illustrating the countless words and phrases from the King James that have entered contemporary language.

Also unveiled at the exhibition will be two of Mach’s distinctive match-head sculptures depicting Jesus and the Devil. Five times the size of a human head and built from thousands of coloured match-heads, the sculptures will be set alight in performances by the artist in Edinburgh. Following a stabilisation process, the charred remains will be displayed in the exhibition.

Central to the project is the publication of an artist’s book, which will accompany the exhibition. The book will contain reproductions for the works from the exhibition, essays on the King James Bible and its legacy in culture, language and art alongside text from the King James Bible itself. Contributors include broadcaster and former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway. Also published to coincide with the exhibition will be a monograph on David’s work.

“The King James Bible can’t be equalled in the sheer magnitude of influence it has had on our culture and on the way we think and talk right to the present day. The Bible has all the themes and inspiration an artist could want, struggle, pestilence, love, war - it’s dripping with emotion and drama.”  David Mach

The Last Supper

David Mach's final work for the exhibition goes up on display on Wednesday the 21st September and will be available for viewing from then. Created in his relocated studio on the third floor of the City Art Centre, final touches will be added and the completed work fully unveiled on Thursday the 29th September.

Schools Guide

A full colour PDF exhibition guide has been produced for secondary school students. To reserve a copy, please contact Margaret Findlay on 0131 529 3963, or email margaret.findlay@edinburgh.gov.uk

A selection of some of the works on display - Gallery 1

Images from launch night - Gallery 2

David Mach Edinburgh Lecture 2016