David Altmejd creates sculptures that often blur the distinction between interior and exterior, surface and structure, representation and abstraction. For Altmejd, the process of making is paramount—he is interested in how the act of constructing an object and the unconventional use of materials gives rise to meaning. The human body in relation to processes of decay, renewal and transformation is a principal theme, with more recent sculptures appearing to either create or destroy themselves. Monumental semi-figurative works often incorporate a myriad of unexpected materials (such as hessian, polystyrene, chains, fur, crystals, glitter, mirrors and casts of hands and fruit), the combinations of which can be captivating, disturbing or extremely poetic. Motivated by the invisible worlds that often exist beneath the surface of things, the artist reveals the hidden structures in his own works through negative spaces: gaps, holes, fissures and crystal-filled orifices are a recurring motif. Altmejd is also known for his earlier series of vast Perspex vitrines filled with labyrinthine arrangements of symbolic objects and materials. In these mesmeric works, precision and order conjure an aura of mystery and magic. While the vitrines draw viewers into the heart of a complex world, his mirrored sculptures, which date from the same period, are resolutely impenetrable. Thanks to their reflective surfaces, they both define and destabilize, as well as multiply, the surrounding space.
David Altmejd (b. 1974, Montréal) lives and works in New York. His work was the subject of a major survey exhibition entitled Flux at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France which travelled on to the MUDAM in Luxembourg and the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Canada (2014-15). He represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and his first public sculpture The Eye (a commission from the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal) was unveiled in 2012.