Selected works by David Altmejd

David Altmejd
The Healers


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.
David Altmejd
The New North


Wood, foam, expandable foam, resin, paint, magic-sculpt, magic-smooth, epoxy, glue, mirror, horse hair, quartz crystals and wire

368.3 x 134.6 x 106.7 cm
“When I work, the body is like a universe where I can lose myself. It is a metaphor for the landscape, nature and the mountains”, Altmejd has said. The Healers (2008), another sculpture over two metres high which is formed of wood, foam, plaster and burlap, shows wildly overlapping figures and figurative fragments – hands, wings, kneeling and kissing figures, rendered as if in the midst co-dependent, sexually charged physical agony.
Equally reminiscent of baroque compositions representing the descent of the cross as well as of 19th-century public bronze sculptures commemorating battle massacres, Altmejd’s elaborate tableau, mixing handmade craft with the illusion of a digital freeze-frame palimpsest, evokes a mood of constant alchemical mutation.

Other Resources
Additional information and images – David Altmejd
Various other resources and images – David Altmejd
Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London – representing gallery for David Altmejd - Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York - representing gallery for David Altmejd
Installation view of David Altmejd’s ‘The Index’ at the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007
David Altmejd burst onto the contemporary art scene seemingly out of nowhere. the young sculptor began exhibiting at small galleries in his hometown of Montréal and then made the move to New York.
since graduating with an MFA from Columbia university in 2001, he has participated in a number of high profile shows in New York and abroad, including the 2003 Istanbul biennial and the 2004 Whitney Biennial.
How is it that David Altmejd's sculptures – a raddled cast of flesh-eaten corpses – don't look like the remains of a zombie feast? He references just about every schlock horror director from Romero to Cronenberg, yet somehow through the most repellent elements he conjures up an icy wilderness full of spiritual possibility.
The 35-year old, New York-based Canadian artist David Altmejd was announced the winner of the 2009 Sobey Art Award, in a ceremony Thursday night at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, in Halifax. Canada's representative at the Venice Biennial two years ago, Mr. Altmejd received his first artistic training in Montreal, where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Université du Québec à Montréal, before heading to New York to complete his Masters of Fine Arts at Columbia University.
David Altmejd is a Canadian artist who incorporates elements of fantasy and the grotesque into his sculptures will represent Canada at the 2007 Venice Biennale of Visual Art, competing for the $50,000 Sobey Art Award. Photo by Canada Council. David Altmejd’s sculptures mix random objects such as decapitated werewolf heads with graffiti-style Stars of David, stained Calvin Klein underwear, towers made of mirrors, plastic flowers and faux jewelry, to create sculptural systems for what he calls “symbolic potential? and open ended narratives.