News Column

Artist has a lot of bottle as he appeals for all our HP empties

June 11, 2014

Phil Miller; Phil Miller Arts Correspondent

It will be a provocative art work with a lot of bottle.

The artist David Mach, known for his large sculptures made from tyres, coat hangers, matchsticks and magazines as well as the 'Big Heids' on the M8, is seeking help from the public to source the material for his next work - which will be made from empty HP Sauce bottles.

Mach, from Methil, Fife, needs 2000 glass bottles for a new show to be launched in November at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

It is based on his previous work, Thinking of England, which was made in 1983 from sauce bottles arranged in a grid format and filled with dyed ink to create an image of a prone woman.

At present Mach, who believes the humble HP Sauce bottle is a potent symbol of Britishness, only has one bottle, and has asked on his Facebook page for help from fans and the public to gather the full amount needed for the show.

Last night Mach, born in 1956, said he is not a supporter of Scottish independence, and revealed: "I love being both Scottish and British."

The artist, who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1988, said: "It is a new version of Thinking of England for a forthcoming Pop Art show, it will be like that work, but not exactly the same.

"I have got one bottle, so I need a few more - it's one of the nice parts of social media that people can take part like this."

Mach has created several works with bottles before, including a "Scottish version" of Thinking of England called Dying For It, made in 1989 from half litre whisky bottles, which was exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

This also showed a female figure, this time visible in the grid of bottles as a white shape against a blue background, suggesting the white cross of the Scottish flag.

Other bottle works made by Mach include works made with Newcastle Brown Ale bottles and French wine bottles.

On the independence referendum, Mach a graduate of the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, said he falls into the 'No' camp.

The artist, who lives and works in London, said: "I feel very much British to be honest.

"I love being Scottish and British and being part of the union."

He added: "I am not for independence. I like being British. It may be due to living in London for the last 35 years.

"I have always thought that being Scottish is such a lucky thing, you are part of this beloved nation of Scotland, you can go anywhere in the world and be liked.

"But I love the whole island, it is such a fantastic place.

"I think many Scots don't really give a toss about independence, I think what they resent is being ruled by these toffs in Westminster."

The original work, Thinking of England, consisted of 1800 HP Sauce Bottles. He added: "To me HP Sauce is not an English thing, it's a British thing."

Mach once told the Tate that the original work was a comment on nationalism and British attitudes to sexuality.

He said: "I think the nationalistic thing is so close to the sexist thing anyway and the ideas of support structures, and who actually runs the country and who makes it tick ... you think of the title 'Thinking of England', aren't you proud to represent Britain?

"Well, while I am happy to be involved in these things, I don't actually think of myself as 'the British representative' or 'the Scottish representative'."


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)


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