David Mach was born in Methil, Fife, Scotland in 1956. He studied for five years at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, then spent a further three years working for his MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. Since leaving the RCA in 1982 he has lived and worked in London.
Mach has used everyday, recognizable, mass-produced objects in multiples, notably newspapers, magazines, car tires, matches and coat hangers throughout his career. He brings diverse items together in large-scale installations with humor and social comment.
The density of the installations is echoed in matchheads where multiple objects make the whole. Thousands of safety matches are glued together so that mainly only the colored heads of the matches are seen. Mach sees the match heads as having three clear lives: the original colored head; the performance of burning it; and the burned head, instantly aged black and white version of the originals.
The coathangers are made in a similar way to the matchheads, using traditional sculptural techniques, a figure or object is modeled in clay, molded, cast and then the coathangers are laboriously shaped, fitted and welded round the plastic shape. In these sculptures the hooks form a sort of fuzz that masks the identity of the object which makes it more enticing to look at. The hooks make a ghost out of the object from which they protrude.
The collage works grew from a need to show a commissioner how a sculpture might look. It has grown from one small figure cut out to show scale to large scale collages, art works in their own right, using thousands of cut out pieces, which are best described as resembling a still from an epic movie. ‘A National Portrait’ a series of fifteen monumental collages was exhibited at the Millennium Dome, London.
As well as exhibiting extensively Mach has also made a number of commissioned public sculptures in the UK. He has work in public collections at the Tate Britain; Tate Liverpool; the National Portrait Gallery; the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; Scottish National Portrait Gallery; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; the British Council collection among many others.
He has work in many international collections including Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; McMaster Museum, Hamilton, Ontario; Museé Leon Dierx, Reunion Island; Kawasaki City Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Art, Auckland; FRAC du Rhones-Alpes, France; FRAC de Franche-Comté; Museé d’art Contemporain, Dole, France; Museé van Hedendaagse kunst, Antwerp; de Werf, Aalst, Belgium; UBS, Geneva; Microsoft, Seattle; Hasbro Inc, New York.