David Altmejd The Builders

24 March23 April 2005

6 rue St-Georges | St-Jorisstraat

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David Altmejd’s (°1974, Montreal) sculptural installations draw the viewer into the interior labyrinths of the subconscious. His deceptively realistic sculptures and dramatic stage sets, evoking gothic altars, archaeological museum displays, and architectural models, give an uncanny materiality to the primal narratives they evoke.

Using mirrors, plastic, glass and theatrical lighting, Altmejd creates dark, dramatic spaces that display and reflect his elaborate, grotesque sculptures. Often, his installations consist of multi-platformed stage areas and tomblike interiors lined with mirrors. These structures present spatial hierarchy among the various mythical species that Altmejd has created, which include werewolves and other monsters. The sculptures are further adorned with flowers, jewels, precious objects and crystals.

Making reference to the use of mirrors in the 1970’s by artists such as Robert Smithson, the prismatic chambers dematerialise space by reflecting, refracting and displacing the site of the object. This effect provides glimpses into the psychological constructions of the subconscious mind, hovering somewhere between the rational and the irrational…

In his installation at the Whitney Biennial 2004, Delicate Men in Positions of Power (2003), the impaled head of a faceless species towers over cubed, mirrored lattices, a disintegrating werewolf cadaver sprouting crystals, and a network of jewelled garlands. The narrative of decay and rejuvenation pervades each of those elements, such as the mythical transformation of werewolves under a full moon and the alchemical allusions suggested by the prevalence of crystals throughout the installation.

The gridlike architectural platforms and theatrical displays unify Altmejd’s system of myths and sculptural artefacts that appear to be on the verge of reinvigoration and rebirth.

David Altmejd has held exhibitions in Montreal, New York and Paris. His work has been presented at the Istanbul Biennial (2003) and the Whitney Biennial (2004). It is the first time David Altmejd’s work is shown in Belgium. The solo exhibition at Xavier Hufkens will include a selection of new sculptures.

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