Studio Nathan Coley

The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004


Production of 286 cardboard models of ever 'Place of Worship' listed in the Edinburgh yellow pages.


The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2004
Scottish National Gallery of modern Art, Edinburgh, 2005
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, 2014

Photo Credit

Alan Dimmick

Other Information

Collection of the Scottish National Galleries

The Lamp of Sacrifice

Jonathan Horrocks

As with The Lamp of Sacrifice (161 Places of Worship, Birmingham) (2000), this installation brings together a collection of scaled-down replicas of religious buildings. Using panels of cardboard, Coley re-constructed all 286 places of worship within Edinburgh (as listed in the Yellow Pages at the time), and presented them in direct confrontation with one another by clustering them together within
the gallery space. In doing so, the artist highlighted the manner in which religious buildings are characterized by conflicting theological ideologies. The intense amount of labor which went into fabricating each model, both in terms of research and physical construction, manifests the presence of these invisible fractures. The fastidiousness of the work’s production also recalls the sacrificial nature of worship which is demanded by religion. Archetypal of Coley’s practice, the work demonstrates how the artist uses objects to reveal the conflicting systems of belief through which the space around us is constructed.