The Healers (detail)
Wood, foam, plaster, burlap, metal wire, paint
Installed dimensions 239 x 367 x 367cm work dimensions 206 x 326 x 326 plinth dimensions 33 x 367 x 367cm
David Altmejd makes large-scale sculptures of anthropomorphic figures cast in a state of metamorphosis. His works explore the boundaries of traditional figuration by embedding his subjects with otherworldly elements and reconceptualizing how to represent the human figure in all its spatial, spiritual and psychological multiplicity.
The New North (2007) is approximately four metres tall; its colossal dimension allows the artist to create microcosmic worlds within it. It is covered in patches of fuzzy horse hair, wires, mirrored rhomboid shapes and quartz crystals; it also has a mysterious staircase with stalagmites that hang from its steps.
Winding its way through the hollow body shape, the stairs are suggestive of mutual ascent and descent, as if inviting an exploration through an ancient cave or ruined architecture. The quasi-taxidermied structure has its own complex logic and systems, like a conceptual city or a building, living and breathing, and self-sufficient.