The crucifixion of Jesus has been depicted in religious art since the 4th century CE. World renown Scottish-born artist David Mach, famous for his stunning sculptures made out of wire coat hangers, turned heads with his own depiction of the Bible’s most compelling event- his “Golgotha” sculpture first debuted in his 2011 exhibition titled “Previous Light”, which opened in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. The monumental piece is again provoking a strong reaction with its recent display within the 14th century walls of Chester Cathedral in England.
“The Bible has it all- war, famine, sex, death, pestilence, jealousy, revenge. Struggle, pain, love death- it’s all in there,” Mach said of the piece during it’s original showing. “As an artist, I think I would struggle to find a richer source of inspiration. No single text has had such a profound effect on our language, culture, and thoughts as this book.”
Though unconventional and abstract in its use of materials, Mach’s sculptures of Jesus and the thieves behind him scream the real life pain of the crucifixion. Coat hangers are used as contours to describe the shape of the human form, where thousands of hooks are arranged in such a way that they create a sort of double image or sense of movement- the sculptures appear to look as if they are vibrating or animated.
“Golgotha is my largest coat hanger piece to date,” Mach says. “I wanted this sculpture to be dramatic. It is an epic, violent scene. So the sculpture needed to have as much pathos as possible. I extruded the coat hanger hooks outward to reflect that and to me they seem to capture the agony of the moment.” David Mach’s “Golgotha” is now on view at Chester Cathedral until May 1st, 2016.