David Altmejd (b. 1974 Montreal) is a Canadian artist – a sculptor/installation artist – who shares his work-place between Montreal and London. Since graduating with his MFA (2001), he has taken part in many high profile group shows at important spaces as impressive as Artists Space and Deitch Projects, both in New York City. In 2007, he was Canada’s officially selected national artist for the Venice Biennale at the Canadian Pavilion, curated by Louise Déry. Altmejd is represented in New York City by Andrea Rosen Gallery and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London.
Altmejd’s grandiosely-scaled sculptures and installations are like the Hitchcock’s celluloid narrative and the High Baroque poems embodied: they’re monstrous, formless, excessive, bizarre, creepy, impossible – they seem to be hanged on a very thin line of the common sense, the postmodern ‘hybrid-werewolf’ aesthetics and the boundaries of the laws of physics.
They have grown out of the artist’s existential need to create ‘huge, super-intense objects in this world’ (Altmejd in one of the interviews) that would work as a shock therapy – I do exist! Using random, both fairly grotesque and quite ‘common’ materials, such as decapitated werewolf heads (for which he ‘earned’ the ‘werewolf man’ nickname), stained Calvin Klein underwear, faux hair, towers made of mirrors, plastic flowers, electronic and steel elements etc. he awakes the fairy-tales, mythology and horror-movies most atrocious, deadly ‘aliens’ and ‘beasts’ that would keep us awake in beds in childhood and sinisterly amused throughout our entire, adult life.
Altmejd’s purposefully audacious propositions are bizarrely seductive and irrationally convincing; they possess the energy and dark charisma, which provokes mind-teasing dilemma like: why, generally speaking, do we find those beastly incarnations so alluring (just think about the evergreen pop-cults of Dracula, Alien – series or Hannibal‘s story), why do those monsters keep coming back through ages in different forms/concepts? Is it maybe that we need them to be more ‘human’, or – perhaps they do us a favour of symbolizing and abstracting those of our ‘persona’ that our conscious, sensible mind would have never admitted to be existing in the first place…?