About this artwork

This work consists of a scale model in cardboard of every ‘Place of Worship’ listed in the 2004 edition of the Edinburgh Yellow Pages telephone directory. The models represent buildings in an area including Lothian, Fife and the Borders. The resulting work is a snapshot of Scotland through its places of religious meeting; churches, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, Salvation Army halls and temples. The buildings are displayed without regard for their real life location or religious connections. The artist was influenced by an essay by the nineteenth-century artist and writer John Ruskin called ‘The Seven Lamps of Architecture’. Ruskin stated that ‘It is not the church we want, but the sacrifice; not the emotion of admiration, but the act of adoration: not the gift but the giving’.

see media
  • title: The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004
  • accession number: GMA 4750
  • artist: Nathan ColeyScottish (born 1967)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art (Modern One)(On Display)
  • object type: Sculpture
  • subject: Churches and cathedrals
  • materials: 286 cardboard models; 2 photocopied and annotated pages from Yellow Pages (Edinburgh)
  • date created: 2004
  • measurements: Cardboard models: dimensions variable; pages: 42.00 x 29.50 cm each
  • credit line: A Fruitmarket Gallery / Bloomberg Commission: purchased with funds from the Cecil and Mary Gibson Bequest 2004
  • copyright: © Studio Nathan Coley

Nathan Coley

Nathan Coley

Nathan Coley’s work explores the interaction between architecture and society. He is interested in the way that urban architecture and public space reflect our needs and aspirations. His work often uses architecture to raise social and political questions. Coley’s practice is driven by research, involving site visits, photographs, interviews and archival research. Coley became known for his public sculpture but he produces works in a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, drawing, video and installations. Born in Glasgow, Coley studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1985 to 1989. In 2007 he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include You Create What You Will, New Art Centre, Roche Court, England (2015); Portraits of Dissension, House Festival, Brighton (2015) and You Imagine What You Desire, Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh (2014).

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