YESTERDAY's newspapers need not become tomorrow's fish-and-chip wrappers. For one man, 120,000 copies of The Herald have become a work of art.

David Mach, one of Scotland's most controversial artists, is poised to complete his latest sculpture, crafted from wrecked cars and more than 40 tonnes of newsprint, on Sunday evening.

The sculpture, entitled Bangers and Mash, forms part of Mach's first major exhibition in Scotland for many years, at the Gallery of Modern Art, in


He said: ''I like to think of the sculpture as a collision of histories, but that's as far as I'd go in trying to give it a meaning.''

Mach has been working on the sculpture with the assistance of his wife Lesley, his brother Robert, and local artist Michael Visocchi for almost three weeks.

''There's a lot of hard graft involved in shifting 40 tonnes of newspapers to make interacting shapes. You can't just slap it together. It's like an endless game of snap.''

He added: ''I like using magazines and newspapers because you get a contemporary feel. They make a statement.

''But it has been a hard slog. I'd say that it has taken us about 10 to12 days, all in, and we've probably spent at least 10 hours a day working on it. It'll be good to get it finished.''

The creator of projects such as Big Heids, on the grassy verge of the M8, and Train, the steam locomotive constructed out of bricks, receives as much criticism as critical acclaim for his larger-than-life works.

His many other public projects include Polaris - a 180ft version of a nuclear submarine made from 600 rubber tyres - as well as collages of Buckingham Palace, the Millennium Dome and Edinburgh Castle.

Mach, who was born in Fife and trained at Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art, Dundee, and the Royal College of Art in London, was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1988.

His career has taken him all over the world, while his work has become ever larger and demanding in scale.

The public has been able to observe Mach working on his creation, in Goma's Earth Gallery, from day one. He is particularly happy with the size of the gallery.

''It's such a beautiful place, like a palace in Italy. I wanted a stark contrast for the sculpture with the shaped columns and ornate ceiling of the gallery.

''There will be a lot of turmoil bubbling over in a calm, serene place where people whisper as if someone has died in the next room.''

One onlooker remarked: ''It's fascinating to see art of this scale developing every day, it's really spectacular. I don't think that everyone will appreciate it, people seem incapable sometimes of appreciating public art, but I think it's incredible.''

Mach appears to derive a great deal of satisfaction from public response to his latest work.

He said: ''I've enjoyed working in the public domain. I like talking to folk.''

Since he came to international prominence in the 1980s, it is this willingness to engage with people outside art world cliques that has given his work much of its power. ''Folk seem to like it, all the feedback I've had has been positive, but I guess if they didn't they're not very likely to come up and say 'Here, pal, that's pure rubbish'.''

The exhibition, Hell Bent, runs until September 29, and includes a nine-foot tall coat hanger spaceman, a group of crazed garden gnomes brandishing chainsaws, and an amazing figure of a woman diving into water from the ceiling.