3 great exhibitions across Cheshire this spring

Incoming David Mach Installation, Griffin Gallery 2017

Incoming David Mach Installation, Griffin Gallery 2017 - Credit: Archant

Two Twisted at Chester Cathedral, Made of Iron in the Wirral and Faces of Change: Nature’s Champions at Dunham Massey

Linda McCartney by Humphrey Ocean (c) National Portrait Gallery, London

Linda McCartney by Humphrey Ocean (c) National Portrait Gallery, London - Credit: Archant

If you’re visiting Chester Cathedral in the first couple of weeks of April don’t be surprised to discover an enormous pile of newspapers and among them a slender, blonde haired man, the artist David Mach.

Mach and his team will be working on his latest installation as part of his exciting new show Two Twisted, which will be at the cathedral from April 11th and just maybe provoking some extreme reactions in the process.

The cathedral love Mach. His blockbuster Golgotha sculpture created from thousands of coathangers was a huge success when it was exhibited there in 2016 and he took part in their massive Ark art show in 2017. Now he’s back for Two Twisted, one of the large scale installations for which he is most famous.

Scottish-born Mach is heavily influenced by Pop Art and consumerism, and explores materiality on a grand scale, by bringing together multiples of mass-produced objects.

Their Majesties visit to Cammell Laird 1917, part of the Made of Iron exhibitio n on the Wirral

Their Majesties visit to Cammell Laird 1917, part of the Made of Iron exhibitio n on the Wirral - Credit: Archant

This time he’s bringing ten tonnes of newspapers and a couple of sea containers, which isn’t quite what you might expect to find in a cathedral.

‘It’s going to be one of those newspaper installations that I have made for about 30 or 40 years and recently revived,’ Mach explains.

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‘This will be my fourth in the last couple of years. We built one of about 15 tonnes in London, Shepherd’s Bush and most recently a huge one in Galway for the summer festival there.

‘That was great. It was a massive space and we dug hole in the floor. We kind of wrecked the joint in the process of making this thing.

‘There’ll be a couple of sea containers inside the cathedral and I’ll make a form inside those containers as if there’s something spilling in there from one to the next. They won’t be flat they’ll be at angles that will be quite...risky.

‘At Chester Cathedral it’s a bit more difficult to build a dirty big hole in the floor so the next best thing has to be to bring all this stuff to spill out of it and because it is an installation, a performance, I like that because it gets me out of the studio. I can’t make that and transport it across England and go there you go. I’ve got to be there and do it.’

Although it is being shown in the cathedral, there are no religious connotations to the work even so, Mach acknowledges that like God, containers can move in mysterious ways.

‘Sea containers have been dropped into the Amazonian jungle and worshipped like the obelisk in 2001 Space Odyssey,’ he says.

‘If you’re a sailor you know they’re dangerous things. They are like icebergs, except they only show a few inches above the level of the sea and before you know where you are you’ve crashed into one. They are like Greek temples, containers, the same long shape, they’ve got the gabled ends in the same sort of fashion. For a metal box it has a lot to say about itself. They have a colossal impact on the world. I’m not obsessed by them but it’s close.’

On the Wirral there’s also a shipping theme to a fascinating series of exhibitions and displays that will be on show from May to September.

Made of Iron explores how Wirral made its mark on the world of shipbuilding charting Wirral’s unique contribution to maritime exploration.

Featuring archive photography and historic artefacts, discover how shipbuilding changed Wirral forever at venues including Williamson Art Gallery and Museum and Birkenhead Priory. Made of Iron will dive into the personal stories of those whose lives were shaped by life in the shipyards. Voices of local people – past and present – will take their place alongside the tales of legendary vessels manufactured in the borough which have journeyed across the world.

Made of Iron is part of Wirral Borough of Culture 2019 – a year-long programme of major cultural and sporting events in unexpected locations, based around the themes of discovery, exploration and great outdoors.

Until June 9th nature’s champions are being celebrated at Dunham Massey in a partnership between the National Trust and the National Portrait Gallery.

Faces of Change: Nature’s Champions focuses on individuals who have transformed the way we perceive, experience and aim to protect the natural world and features contemporary sitters such as Dame Vivienne Westwood and Linda McCartney as well key figures of the Romantic movement such as William Wordsworth, and early radicals and reformers William Morris and Octavia Hill.

The exhibition includes environmental activists, scientists, poets, politicians, campaigners, gardeners and broadcasters who have affected how we interact with our environment.

In each case, the exhibition will chart the sitters’ importance in our evolving understanding of the natural world and how best to protect it.

Visitors to the exhibition at Dunham Massey will see objects from its own collection that link the family from Dunham Massey to the sitters, including Gilbert White and Octavia Hill. The exhibition will also feature a film documenting young people’s thoughts about the environment today and shows how young people were involved in selecting which ‘Nature’s Champions’ made it onto the walls of Dunham Massey for the display.

Jessica Webb, Visitor Experience Manager at Dunham Massey says: ‘The ‘Nature’s Champions’ exhibition will invite visitors of all ages to discover or learn more about some of the leading historical and current day figures who have played a key role in promoting and protecting the natural world. We’re delighted to be bringing some of these notable faces to the walls of Dunham Massey as part of our year-long programme celebrating nature and those who care for it.’

The details

Two Twisted

From April 12th - May 20th

Chester Cathedral, St Werburgh Street, Chester, CH1 2DY.

01244 324756, chestercathedral.com

Made of Iron

May to September

Various Venues.


Faces of Change: Nature’s Champions

From March 23rd - May 15th

Dunham Massey, Woodhouse Lane, Altrincham, WA14 4SJ. 0161 941 1025


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