David Altmejd

Canada 1974



David Altmejd
David Altmejd
June 2, 2016
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

David Altmejd makes sculptures that do not reference a single object, they reference the entire universe. His inspiration is life and all the living things in our physical world, mountains, streams, rivers, plants, and trees. There is a little bit of life in everything, and that is his mantra. This philosophy helps him to overcome the distinctions of the soul inside the sculpture and the external body, the only visible one. When it comes to style, Altmejd places his work between figurative and abstract.

work work new new gallery gallery york museum brussels exhibitions 2011 arts march works university David Altmejd - Healers, 2008, photo credits Jim Linwood
David Altmejd – Healers, 2008, photo credits Jim Linwood

Biography and Education

Altmejd attended Université du Québec à Montréal and later continued his education at the Columbia University, where he graduated with MA in Fine Arts. David Altmejd has been producing work continuously, through his studies, and especially when he graduated. He participated in many group shows. What was a personal breakthrough for him, is the participation at the 8th International Istanbul Biennale in 2003. Just a year later he was included as a cooperator at the USA Whitney Biennale of American Art. The crown of the biennale success was his representation of Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2007. He competed with the installation called The Index, which is one of his largest pieces. Index was made of steel, plexiglass, glass, silicone, taxidermy birds and animals, trees, hair, even jewelry, and glitter! He assembled this piece by connecting elements to steel structures. The purpose of mirrors was to make the viewer experience the assemblage even larger. That is what Altmejd usually does, he challenges the viewer to come close, and when he arrives, he transcends into another universe. Also, the mirrors are carefully placed, to the viewer could see his or her reflection, and have the impression that he/she is the part of the experience. He likes to use his art in contemporary purposes and in 2016 he designed the album cover for the alternative rock band Yeasayer’s album.

In 2016, Altmejd designed a cover for the album of the rock band Yeasayer

work work new new gallery gallery york york museum museum brussels exhibitions exhibitions univeristy 2011 arts march university David Altmejd - Album Cover fot the Yeasayer Amen & Goodbye, 2016, photo credits Pitchfork (Left) / Eye (Right)
David Altmejd – Album Cover fot the Yeasayer Amen & Goodbye, 2016, photo credits Pitchfork (Left) / Eye (Right)

Reference Behind the Assembled Images

A year after the Venice Biennale, in 2008, David Altmejd made one of his most delicate and tactful pieces. The Healers is a large piece, over two meters, made of wood, plaster, and foam. The accent was on human interaction, on physical contact, on the closeness that heals. The figures exude dynamic energy and warmth of human touch. Their features almost overlap and their elements intertwine. The hands are touching, figures are kissing, standing up, kneeling, filled with passion and lust. The positions they are in are suggestive and powered with desire for connection. The artist carefully combines contemporary elements, sometimes inspired by graffiti, other times by consumer and popular culture, with classical elements, baroque essentials, and religious motive. Together the elements shine in cohesion, apart they represent a random group of objects. However, every single one of the objects has a symbolic reference. They are the ones that give hints and clues, to the viewer could have a coherent story.

David Altmejd is one of those artists who equally emphasizes the tools and the material

work work new new gallery gallery york york museum museum brussels exhibitions 2011 arts march university David Altmejd - A view on the installation The Index, 2007 (Left) / A closer look on The Index, 2007 (Right)
David Altmejd – A view on the installation The Index, 2007 (Left) / A closer look on The Index, 2007 (Right)

For the Support of Matter

David Altmejd’s creations are comprehensive objects with many stories to tell. What they represent and what is hidden under the surface transcends the simple symbolic references. Altmejd also does not like to leave any obvious clues. He likes to dedicate the carrying power of the idea to the material, so every type of matter from his large diapason has a certain story to tell. It is probably more obvious when it comes to flowers, mirrors, birds, and animals. But even foam, plastic, human clothes, everything that was ever found in his sculptures was there with intention and explanation. Idea and concept are not his main interests. It is the bare act of making, of creation that motivates him. That is the reason he puts meaning in the second place. The theme Altmejd creates under is placed somewhere between a universal need for purpose, human emotion, sexuality, the circle of life, beginnings and ends.

David Altmejd lives and works in New York.

All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016GeantsMusees royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2016L’airXavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2015The Flux and the PuddleLouisiana Museum, DenmarkSolo
2015The Flux and the PuddleGalerie Rene Blouin, Montreal, CanadaSolo
2015FacesStuart Shave - Modern Art, London, UKSolo
2015FluxMusee d’art contemporain de Montreal, CanadaSolo
2015JuicesAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2015A Brief History of the FutureRoyal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2015Possible CollectionHonolulu, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2015The Art Of Our TimeThe Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angels, CAGroup
2015Rock Hound Swap MeetJunior Projects, New York, NYGroup
2014FluxMusee d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, FranceSolo
2014The Grace of a Gesture: Fifty Years of GiftsMusee d’art contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2014Love Story - Anne & Wolfgang Titze CollectionBelvedere Museum, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2014HybridesGalerie Sophie Scheidecker, Paris, FranceGroup
2014Man in the MirrorThe Walter Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2014Lone TreeMarlborough ChelseaGroup
2014HomecomingGalerie Division, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2014Elevated: Contemporary Art in the AGO TowerThe Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2014AstralisEspace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris, FranceGroup
2014Misled by NatureMuseum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2014States of mindMaison Particuliere, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2014David Altmejd, Roni Horn, Didier Vermeiren, Dahn VoXavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2014The Body MetonymicOakland University Art Gallery, Rochester, MIGroup
2014Hybrides & Chimeres: La conquete d’un reve eveille (Hybrids & Chimeras – The Conquest of a Waking Dream)Musee Goya de Castres, Tarn, FranceGroup
2013David AltmejdXavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2013Chambres a Part VIII: Voir est un fable (Seeing is a Fable)Laurence Dreyfus Art Consulting, Paris, FranceGroup
2013Science of DreamsThe Arsenal Montreal, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2013A mes amies les licornes (To My Unicorn Friends)Parisian Laundry, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2013Jew YorkZach Feuer Gallery and Untitled, New York, NYGroup
2013My Little ParadiseMiddelheim Museum, Antwerp, BelgiumGroup
2013Theatrical GesturesHerzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzliya, IsraelGroup
2013Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, CanadaGroup
2013Inside Out and from the Ground UpMOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, OHGroup
2013Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the BaroqueThe Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, CanadaGroup
2013PotholeSalon 94 Bowery, New York, NYGroup
2013ZOOMusee d’art contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2013Figures from the New WorldCentre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, PolandGroup
2013Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic ImaginationFrist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TNGroup
2012David AltmejdStuart Shave - Modern Art, London, UKSolo
2012Group ExhibitionL’Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux, France, La Belle et la BeteGroup
2011David AltmejdBrant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CTSolo
2011Conte crepusculaire (Twilight Tale)Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, CanadaSolo
2011David AltmejdPierre LapointeSolo
2011David AltmejdAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2011Mondes inventes - Mondes habites (Invented Worlds – Inhabited Worlds)Mudam LuxembourgGroup
2011Barroco Nova: Neo-Baroque Moves in Contemporary ArtMuseum London, London, Ontario, CanadaGroup
2011HabiteRLes Abattoirs, Toulouse, FranceGroup
2011Night Scented StockMarianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2011The House Without the DoorDavid Zwirner, New York, NYGroup
2011Shape of Things to Come: New SculptureSaatchi Gallery, London, UKGroup
2011Mystere, MysteresFlaran Abbey, Gers, FranceGroup
2011Everything You Can Imagine is Real…Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2011Der Traum vom Fliegen - The Art of FlyingHaus Der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010Le guideXavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2010ColossiVanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2010Surrealist ConspiracyHigh Museum of Art, Wieland Pavilion Skyway Galleries, Atlanta, GAGroup
2010It is what it is. Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian ArtNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, CanadaGroup
2010Visceral BodiesVancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, CanadaGroup
201010 ans, un musee, un Frac, une collection (Ten Year Permanent Collection)Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, FranceGroup
2010Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou CollectionNew Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NYGroup
2010Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim MuseumSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NYGroup
2010Alpha Omega: Works from the Dakis Joannou CollectionDESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, GreeceGroup
2009David AltmejdMagasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, FranceSolo
2009David AltmejdAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2009Performance - ArtDallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TXGroup
2009Collection: MOCA's First 30 YearsThe Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Between SpacesP.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NYGroup
2009Sobey Art Award 2009Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, CanadaGroup
2009Saint-Nazaire BiennaleNantes, FranceGroup
2009DreamTime – Temps du Reve. Grottes, ArtMas d’Azil Prehistoric Cave, Toulouse, FranceGroup
2009Emporte-moi - Sweep-me off my FeetMusee national des beaux-arts du Quebec, CanadaGroup
2008David AltmejdStuart Shave - Modern Art, London, UKSolo
2008Doctor AtomicGallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, NYSolo
2008Without WallsMuseum 52, New York, NYGroup
2008Liverpool BiennialTate Liverpool, UKGroup
2008Freeway BalconiesDeutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2008Lustwarande ‘08-WanderlandFundament Foundation, Tilburg, The NetherlandsGroup
2008Legende, curated byChateau et dans les fabriques du Domaine Departemental de Chamarande, FranceGroup
2008The Quebec TriennialMusee d’art contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2008Installations: Selections from the Guggenheim CollectionsGuggenheim Bilbao, SpainGroup
2008Intrus - IntrudersMusee national des beaux-arts du Quebec, Quebec City, CanadaGroup
2008Second ThoughtsHessel Museum of Art & CCS Galleries, Annandale-on-Hudson, New YorkGroup
2007David Altmejd StagesFundacio La Caixa Museum, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2007David Altmejd: The IndexCanadian Pavilion, 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, ItalySolo
2007David AltmejdSolo
2007David Altmejd - MetamorphoseOakville Galleries, Gairloch Gardens, Ontario, CanadaSolo
2007David Altmejd - MetamorphoseGalerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, CanadaSolo
2007David Altmejd - MetamorphoseIllingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary, CanadaSolo
2007Star Power: Museum as Body ElectricMuseum of Contemporary Art, Denver, COGroup
2007The New Authentics: Artists of the Post-Jewish GenerationSpertus Museum, Chicago, ILGroup
2007David Altmejd, Renate Anger, and Eric CameronBirch Libralato, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2007EffigiesStuart Shave - Modern Art, London, UKGroup
2007Fractured Figure - Works from the Dakis Joannou CollectionDESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, GreeceGroup
2007To Build A FireRivington Arms, New York, NYGroup
2007Disorder in the HouseWalter Vanhaerents Collection, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2006David Altmejd - MetamorphoseStuart Shave - Modern Art, London, UKSolo
2006Six Feet Under: Autopsy of Our Relationship to the DeadKunstmuseum Bern, SwitzerlandGroup
2006The Eighth Square: Gender, Life, and Desire in Art Since 1960Museum Ludwig, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2006The Guggenheim CollectionKunsthalle Bonn, Bonn, GermanyGroup
2006The Dining Room ShowAndrea Rosen Gallery, Amagansett, NYGroup
2006A Brighter DayJames Cohan Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2005The BuildersXavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2005Blake & Sons. Alternative Lifestyles and Mysticism in Contemporary ArtLewis Glucksman Gallery, University College, Cork, IrelandGroup
2005L’echo des limbesGalerie Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2005The Zine Unbound: Kults, Werewolves and Sarcastic HippiesYerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2005The TheStuart Shave - Modern Art, London, UKGroup
2005Ideal Worlds. New Romanticism in ContemporarySchirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, GermanyGroup
2005David Altmejd, Mathew Cerletty, Kirsten Everberg, Alisa Margolis and Sophie Van HellermannGalerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris, FranceGroup
2004David AltmejdAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2004NoctambuleFondation Dosne – Biblioteque Thiers, Paris, FranceGroup
2004Whitney Biennial 2004Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NYGroup
2004Scream: 10 Artists X 10 Writers X 10 Scary MoviesAnton Kern Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003David AltmejdGalerie Optica, Montreal, CanadaSolo
2003Sarah AltmejdGalerie SKOL, Montreal, CanadaSolo
2003Material EyesLFL Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003LichtArt Forum Berlin, Berlin, GermanyGroup
20038th Istanbul BiennialIstanbul TurkeyGroup
2003DetournementsMaison de la Culture Cote-des-Neiges, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2003Now Playing: Daniel Reich Gallery, John Connelly Presents, K48D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003Life - LikeApartment 5BE Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2002Clear Structures for a New GenerationTen in One Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2002DemonclownmonkeyArtist Space, New York, NYGroup
2002Lucky DrawDeitch Projects, New York, NYGroup
2001Interval: New Art for New SpaceSculpture Center, New York, NYGroup
2001How I learned to stop worrying and love the recessionTen in One Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2001Point de chute (Somewhere to Stay)Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, CanadaGroup
1999Models of the Spirit and Inner GardensGalerie B-312, Montreal, CanadaSolo
1998JenniferGalerie Clark, Montreal, CanadaSolo
1998Table n°2Galerie SKOL, Montreal, CanadaSolo
1998StimuliMaison de la culture frontenac, Montreal, CanadaGroup
1998Artifice ‘98Saidye Bronfman Art Center, Montreal, CanadaGroup
1998Les BricolosGalerie Clark, Montreal, CanadaGroup