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

  • Jørgen Leth & Alex Da Corte

    The Perfect Monster

    Watch the celebrated Danish poet and film director, Jørgen Leth (b. 1937), and a sparkling star on the art scene, Alex Da Corte (b. 1980), talk about the latter’s shot-for-shot remake of – and homage to – Leth’s iconic film ‘The Perfect Human’.

  • Riad Sattouf

    Advice to Young Cartoonists

    Watch the acclaimed cartoonist Riad Sattouf draw while sharing his advice for colleagues: “Be careful with advice, it’s not always good. Find your own way of expressing yourself, everything is acceptable, there’s no one good way to draw or not draw.”

  • Jean-Marc Bustamante

    The Notion of Landscape

    “I think art is not very useful, it’s a question of what you feel.” Watch the acclaimed French artist and photographer Jean-Marc Bustamante, who merges photography and painting, and whose starting point is always the concept of landscape.

  • John Giorno

    A Visit to the Poet

    “Poetry never dies. You can’t kill poetry.” We called on John Giorno – one of the most influential figures in contemporary performance poetry – in his legendary home on the Bowery in New York, to talk about the innate freedom and possibilities of poetry.

  • John Giorno

    Inside William Burroughs' Bunker

    Step inside ‘The Bunker’ in New York, the windowless former apartment of legendary writer William S. Burroughs, and let yourself be guided around – from Burroughs’ typewriter to his shooting target – by its current resident, iconic poet John Giorno.

  • Colson Whitehead

    I Have to Know the Destination

    “I became a writer once I realised no one liked my stuff.” Watch Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey’s favourite author, Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead, on how rejections of his first stab at a novel made him realize that he wanted to pursue writing.

  • 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’.

  • 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.

  • 11 Artists

    First Encounter with Art

    “That was the beginning of my film and photography career – my first image ended up under the Russian soldier’s boot.” Watch Jonas Mekas, Laurie Anderson, Paul Auster, Gerhard Richter and 7 other acclaimed artists on how they began their career.