One of Scotland’s leading artists has painstakingly recreated a vast work of art, made from nearly 300 cardboard models of churches and other places of worship in Edinburgh, two years after it was badly damaged while on display in Glasgow.
Nathan Coley’s installation will go on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in March after he started again from scratch.
Drawn from the pages of the 2004 Edinburgh Yellow Pages directory, Coley’s work - which was inspired by an essay by the 19th century artist and writer John Ruskin and originally created for the city’s Fruitmarket Gallery in 2004.
He placed the 286 models “in direct confrontation” with one another, clustering them together to highlight “the way in which religious buildings are characterised by conflicting theological ideologies.”
The amount of work involved in creating each replica was said to recall the “sacrificial nature of worship.”
The Lamb of Sacrifice was on display at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow as part of Generation, a nationwide celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland. But the former Turner Prize nominee was left furious when it was damaged beyond repair due to a faulty humidification plant.
The National Galleries of Scotland, which has shared the recreation costs with Glasgow Life and the Scottish Government, will show The Lamp of Sacrifice as part of a new exhibition of Coley’s work.
Coley, who spent six months recreating the models, said: “Making it the first time around was one thing, but making it again was just insanity. The first time around the originals were from photographs that were taken around Edinburgh.
"The second time we were remaking the sculptures and using the damaged copies rather than go back to the source material.
“At first, it was interesting to revisit how to make this large work more than 10 years ago. Then it dawned on me how laborious and time-consuming it became.
"All the glamour and glamour and interest quickly dissipated into hours, days and months. But it’s fitting as the nature of the work is about spending time to remake something which is already in existence.”
A spokesman for the National Galleries said: “Coley is fascinated by the ways in which architecture and urban spaces reflect and impact upon our social relationships, and how they become invested with layers of meaning over time.
"The installation offers a unique snapshot of the city through its places of religious meeting: churches, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, Salvation Army halls and temples."
Fruitmarket director Fiona Bradley said: “We are delighted to see this much-loved work back on display. It was extremely popular with visitors who loved exploring and identifying the different places of worship in Edinburgh.
“I’m pleased that this important work has been restored and that audiences now and in the future can once again enjoy this important work.”