News - David Mach: Heavy Metal

Fife artist David Mach’s long-awaited solo exhibition in London, Heavy Metal, opens at Pangolin London on Wednesday...

Press Release

No stranger to excess or scale, renowned Scottish sculptor David Mach RA will reveal a series of maquettes for several ambitious, new monumental pieces in his exhibition Heavy Metal with sculpture specialists Pangolin London.

Renowned for his controversial and extravagant use of materials, often inspired by everyday objects, Heavy Metal explores Mach’s ideas and obsessions charting his development from sculpture to architecture and probing the tension between the two disciplines. With architectural projects on the go in London, Edinburgh, Mauritius and Syria this exhibition offers a tantalizing glimpse of Mach’s dynamic working process and his innate desire to push the boundaries of contemporary public art. 

He says, "After all these years I still don’t like the isolation of the studio. I prefer to build installations and to work as publicly as possible as a kind of sculptural performance artist. I’ve built works in shopping centres, parks, streets and car showrooms as often as I have in galleries or museums. I enjoy the challenges of trying to manipulate unorthodox materials…preferably in vast quantities in the face of an ever-mounting but still beatable bureaucracy. Like all artists I have to deal with the assault course of ever-increasing boundaries and barriers to creativity. With public art there are ever more hoops to jump through, health and safety issues to deal with, social agendas to consider, budgets and curators to get past... all part of the struggle but all do-able… and yes, I have my own axes to grind and I’m having great fun pushing those boundaries."

Indeed, Mach is enjoying an architectural adventure and many of the works presented in Heavy
Metal highlight his ongoing obsession with shipping containers. Considering them to be one of the
world’s most important inventions, they are intrinsic to the large-scale maquettes that present his
designs for Mach1, an art gallery to be built in Edinburgh Park, a library for Antioch University in
Damascus and a giant sculpture for Chiswick Roundabout in London. These will be exhibited
alongside several more maquettes for public works of art, a series of new prints and in his
continuing collaboration with Pangolin London two exciting new signature bronzes that reference
his significant previous commissions Temple at Tyre and Darlington’s Brick Train.

About David Mach 

Royal Academician David Mach is one of the UK’s most recognised and respected artists working in contemporary art today. Known for his dynamic and imaginative large-scale collage, sculpture and installations using a wide range of materials, including coat hangers, pins, matches, magazines and many others. Mach established his reputation in the 1980s with a series of increasingly ambitious sculptures and installations like 1983's Polaris, a life-size representation of the nuclear-powered submarine made from tyres, at London's Hayward Gallery. 

Never content in making ‘easy’ art, Mach continuously challenges not only his physical ability but gravity and perception. He revels in the challenge of the physically demanding character of his works, stating that ‘hard graft never hurt anyone,’ and attributing his need to make physically demanding pieces as a response to growing up in the industrial region of Fife, Scotland. For Mach, the act of making is just as important as the finished article as he strives for a need to overcome the ‘Bohemian’ idea of the artist with their brush and chisel. 

Born in Methil, Scotland, Mach graduated from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee in 1979 before moving onto study at the Royal College of Art, London in 1982. He is a former Turner Prize nominee and was elected a Royal Academician in 1998. Throughout his career Mach has held numerous teaching positions within the art world and was appointed professor of sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2010. As well as exhibiting internationally in such locations as London, New York, Dubai and Hong Kong; his work is held in numerous prestigious public and private collections around the world. Mach recently returned to live in Fife, Scotland but continues to maintain a studio in London where he has lived for almost forty years.

David Mach: Heavy Metal runs from Wednesday 25th January – Saturday 25th March 2023 at Pangolin London, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG. Find out more information at

Images - Render for Mach1, Edinburgh Park. Courtesy of the artist/Edinburgh
Park & Dixon Jones

Artist and sculptor David Mach in his studio in Fife, Scotland.Photo by Duncan McGlynn
David Mach, Brick Train, Darlington, 1997

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