Home » David Altmejd at the Venice Biennale

David Altmejd at the Venice Biennale

Will the big news at the Venice Biennale (June 10 – November 21, 2007) this year be Canada’s own DAVID ALTMEJD?

(He’s still a Montrealer, even if he lives in New York and London.)


David Altmejd on the cover of Art Review

Altmejd’s work is certainly of-the-moment. His unique architectural otherworldliness made quite an impact at the Whitney Biennale in New York in 2004. There, he presented precisely arranged decay with a sculpture involving intriguing, complex network of perspex cubes, gold chains, crystals, hair and taxidermied animals. The baroque, gothic qualities of Altmejd’s work also invites comparisons to Matthew Barney’s films and sculpture.


Dave Altmejd, The Settlers (detail), 2005. Image: stuartshavemodernart.com

From an interview on Flash Art Online:

“I feel like my work is quite self-referential. I feel that it has become complex enough to be used as a source of inspiration for my future works. I like to think that when the work evolves, it is not because of something coming from the outside, but rather something coming from inside of it, like a mutation.

But of course, it would be naive of me to think that nothing comes from the outside. I like to think so conceptually, but really, my “visual legacy” comes very much from nature and display. The way it is formalized in my work is not by trying to recreate it perfectly, but rather by letting the materials do what they can do and be what they are.

That way the result feels more real and alive.”

The commission created by Altmejd for the Biennale consists of two works, The Index and The Giant 2.

The Canadian pavilion is re-imagined as an aviary, a nesting place for birds. The Index is made up of various structures of wood, steel and mirror glass, interconnected and assembled. They are inhabited by flocks of stuffed birds and animals, fabricated from materials at hand and fragmented bodies – half-human, half-avian – the whole richly ornamented with tree sections and quartz crystals.


David Altmejd, The Giant, 2006. Image: stuartshavemodernart.com

The Giant 2 is a luxurious, imposing 4.3 metre behemoth attended by all manner of stuffed and sculpted birds.


David Altmejd, The Giant (detail), 2006. Image: stuartshavemodernart.com

Here are some images of the two works – The Index and Giant 2 – in progress in Altmejd’s studio:


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Index. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Giant 2. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Giant 2. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca


The Giant 2. Copyright David Altmejd. Image: galerie.uqam.ca

All images courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London.

David Altmejd is represented by Andrea Rosen Gallery (New York) and Stuart Shave/Modern Art (London).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>