David Altmejd’s sculptures and installations borrow from the aesthetics of excess and the grotesque to evoke the forces of decay and regeneration, juxtaposing a minimalist, structural rigor with the driving principles of the nervous system and its fields of energy while establishing a metaphorical dialectic between the human world and the animal realm. Known for his baroque representations of the enigmatic figure of the werewolf (trapped in a continuous cycle of transformation), Altmejd reveals the iterations of a unique spirit and sensibility, in tune with the meanderings of a lucid dream. The artist recognizes the primacy of the conceptual approach in shaping the cycles that run through his work: heads, constructed, architectural pieces, werewolves, bird men, giants, bodybuilders, guides, watchmen… The abrupt changes in scale (from the minuscule to the monumental), profusion of materials (crystals, mirrors, synthetic hair and fur, resin, wood, metal) and the various devices he uses to occupy the space (platforms, display cases, oversized cabinets) are all strategies that position the artist as a creator of all possibilities. Universal in its scope, Altmejd’s work merges the self and the other in the constant, repeated echo of the mirror image and the intensity of the primal human and animal presence at different moments in the cycle of life.

Portait of David Altmejd.
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay (2006)