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Sculpture as Living Organism: A Conversation with David Altmejd
by Michaël Amy

In 1998, when David Altmejd graduated with a BFA from the University of Quebec in Montreal, he was given two solo exhibitions and his work was featured in three group shows, all in Montreal, the city of his birth. In 2001, he graduated with an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in New York City. At the time of this writing, he has already had more than 10 one-person exhibitions and has participated in numerous group shows, including the 2003 Istanbul Biennial and the 2004 Whitney Biennial. This year, Altmejd represented Canada at the 52nd Venice Biennale. His sculpture, with its highly idiosyncratic mixture of materials, techniques, and images, seems most akin to Surrealism, though its sensibility is difficult to nail down. Hovering between cool indifference and romantic pathos, it allows for a wide margin of interpretations. One influential critic labeled it “Modern Gothic.” Altmejd’s work seems very much of our time with its juxtaposition of clumsiness and technical sophistication, horror and beauty. It begs for explication, incorporating werewolves (loups-garous, in French), mirrors, crystals, allusions to Modernist architecture, birds, and giants—images undeniably linked to ideas that Altmejd has made his own. This sculptor, who had planned to become an evolutionary biologist, renders things in a state of flux. Altmejd lives and works in Long Island City (New York) and London.


The Giant 2, 2007. Foam, resin, paint, wood, glass, mirror, Plexiglas, silicone,
taxidermy birds and animals, synthetic plants, pinecones, hors hair, burlap, chains,
wire, feathers, quartz, minerals, jewelry, beads, and glitter, 100 x 168 x 92 in.


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