David Altmejd

David Altmejd

The Heart is a Werewolf

“When I make a sculpture, I don’t want to control it intellectually. I want it to create its own intelligence.” Meet the artist behind a huge enigmatic and almost sci-fi like sculpture where a crystalizing werewolf functions like ‘a heart’.

”I like the idea that one would feel like they can see everything from one point. Then actually, as they start getting closer they realise that they can only see a small portion of it.” Altmejd – whose large, transparent structure consists of an accumulation of details – uses different strategies to create a sense of infinity, such as an overwhelming amount of details and mirrors that face each other. There is always the suggestion that things are hiding and constantly transforming, which means that the viewer can constantly go back to the piece and discover something new: “As a sculptor I want to be able to make the whole structure grow and evolve. I want to not know how the piece is going to transform.” As a consequence, everything that Altmejd has included is a potential source, which circulates energy inside the piece.

“I want it to be like a person, like an individual, I want it to be able to generate meaning – not have a meaning.” The body holds a great interest to Altmejd, who sees it as a goal to make a sculpture exist in space the same way as a body does. In particular the brain fascinates him: “I am really interested in the architecture of the mind. You can make a model of the mind with a series of different spaces – some of them are locked and inaccessible, some of them are deeper, and some of them are more superficial.”

David Altmejd (b. 1974) is a Canadian sculptor from Montreal. He creates large attention-grabbing sculptures with diverse ornament – such as crystals, taxidermy birds, glitter, minerals and mirrors – that blur distinctions between interior and exterior, surface and structure. Altmejd has exhibited widely at venues such as Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, MoMA PS1 in New York and Saatchi Gallery in London. He lives and works in New York. For more about him see: http://www.davidaltmejd.com/

David Altmejd was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in November 2015 in connection to the exhibition of his 328 x 640 x 714 centimetres sculpture ‘The Flux and the Puddle’ (2014). Among the many materials used for the sculpture are wax, mirrors, plaster, latex, feathers, ink, wood, steel wire and quartz mounted in a multitude of Plexiglas cases.

Camera: Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Eileen Myles

    A Poem Says 'I Want'

    “I think a poem really is a statement of desire.” Meet the legendary American poet, writer – and homosexual icon – Eileen Myles. In this video, she discusses the innate power of poetry and how to address the absence of the female genitalia.

  • Sambuichi

    One with the Earth's Cycle

    “Architecture should thrive like a plant.” Gain insight into the philosophy of a frontrunner in sustainable architecture, Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi, and hear how he created some of his unique, site-specific buildings.

  • Naja Marie Aidt

    What You Don't Want to Hear

    “Life’s fragility is ever-present.” Deeply moving video with Danish writer Naja Marie Aidt, who opens up about the tragic death of her 25-year-old son, and how she dealt with her overshadowing loss and grief through literature, gradually returning to writing.

  • George Condo

    The Way I Think

    George Condo was part of the 1980s wild art scene in New York. In this video, recorded in his New York-studio, the iconic artist shares his life-long love of drawing and thoughts on his artistic expression, which he describes as “artificial realism.”

  • Joyce Pensato

    A Life with Cartoon Characters

    Meet the unique artist Joyce Pensato, who paints funny yet sinister large-scale versions of cartoon figures and comic book heroes. We visited the Brooklynite in her studio where she showed us around and shared her love for the iconic characters.

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Paul Auster

    What Could Have Been

    “I don’t think there’s a human being alive who doesn’t reflect on what could have been.” Watch the great American novelist Paul Auster on the impact of the choices we make, the obsessive nature of writing and having reached the age of 70.