David Altmejd Biography

Made from diverse, incongruous materials including epoxy clay and expanded foam, David Altmejd's sculpted figures and mixed-media environments are both surreal and complex.

Read More

Early Life and works

Born in 1974 in Montreal, David Altmejd was interested in science and geology from a young age. He studied art at the Université du Québec à Montréal, graduating with a BFA in 1998; and in 2001, gaining an MFA from Columbia University in New York.

David Altmejd's early works reflect a developing interest in sculpture's ability to evoke life and energy. Indicative of this is Bouquet No. 4 (1997), in which synthetic blooms of flowers gyrate on wall-mounted motors; and Table No. 2 (1998), in which three motorised wigs vibrate atop a table.

Decapitated Werewolves and Metamorphosis

In the early 2000s, David Altmejd began to make werewolf heads and other mythical, part-man, part-beast creations. A composite of materials including synthetic hair, plaster, epoxy, acrylic paint, glass eyes, crystals and cheap jewels, the sculptures evoke tropes from Victorian-era horror novels.

As a whole, these figures explore bodily transformation through both mythical metamorphosis and deathly decay. Appearing post-mortem, the fantastical creatures sprout crystals and other strange extrusions. Werewolf No. 1 (2000), for example, presents an intricately rendered head embedded with faux gems; while Werewolf No.2 exudes crystals from its skull.

Vitrines and Sculptural Environments

Often, Altmejd places his sculptures within Perspex vitrines and mirrored constructions alongside a myriad of disassociated objects. Elements within David Almejd's Perspex labyrinths of objects and iconography are linked by conduits such as gold chains, branches, threads. Each work forms a biological whole, as David Altmejd explains: 'I see my installations as living organisms'.

The sprawling 2003 installation Delicate Men in Positions of Power features a latticed structure made of three platforms, crystals, plastic flora, Stars of David, cheap trinkets and a disintegrating werewolf corpse sprouting crystals and bejewelled garlands. This approach carried through to later works such as Le guide (2010), in which mixed-media components form a dragon-like form.

Another of Altmejd's largest projects, The Flux and the Puddle (2014), presents a massive labyrinth of Perspex cases containing objects, and sculpted creatures. Barely fitting inside the artist's studio, Almejd explained he worked from the inside, working from tables and furniture that remain in the installation.

Reliefs

In comparison to his sprawling mixed-media vitrines, David Altmejd's white monochrome reliefs on aqua resin and fibreglass are more congruous materially, but no less busy. In works like Le Saut (2017) and Flag Burning (2017), fingers and hand-like forms seemingly claw out from and shape the picture planes themselves.

Exhibitions

David Altmejd's solo exhibitions include The Enlightenment of the Witch, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2021); Rabbits, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels (2020); Giants, Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium (2016); The Flux and the Puddle, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek (2015); Flux, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2014); The Orbit, MOCA Cleveland, Ohio (2012); Doctor Atomic, Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York (2008).

In 2007, the New-York based sculptor represented Canada at the 52nd Venice Biennale.

David Altmejd's group exhibitions include Zombies: Pay Attention!, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado (2018); Voyage d'Hiver, Château de Versailles, Versailles (2017); A Brief History of the Future, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels (2015); Contemplating the Void, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Between Spaces, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2009); Stimuli, Maison de la Culture Frontenac, Montréal (1998).

Further Information

David Altmejd's Instagram can be found here.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021

David Altmejd
featured artworks

View 13 More
Sans titre by David Altmejd contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
David Altmejd Sans titre, 2024 Concrete, steel, foam, epoxy clay, epoxy gel, resin, acrylic paint, pencil, colored pencil, and mechanical pencil
67.3 x 41.3 x 30.5 cm
David Kordansky Gallery Request Price & Availability
La fumée by David Altmejd contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
David Altmejd La fumée, 2024 Concrete, steel, foam, epoxy clay, epoxy gel, acrylic paint, pencil, colored pencil, glass, rhinestones, wood, and mechanical pencil
58.4 x 33.7 x 30.5 cm
David Kordansky Gallery Request Price & Availability
Egg by David Altmejd contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
David Altmejd Egg, 2022 Expanding foam, epoxy, acrylic paint, concrete, steel and wood
20.5 x 19.2 x 24.2 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery
! by David Altmejd contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture, drawing
David Altmejd !, 2022 Expanding foam, epoxy, acrylic paint, glass rhinestones, quartz, coloured pencil, pencil, steel and wood
76.2 x 40.6 x 38.1 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery
Standing Figure by David Altmejd contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
David Altmejd Standing Figure, 2022 Expanding foam, epoxy, acrylic paint, latex paint, steel and wood
67.5 x 23 x 27 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery
Untitled 14 (Guides) by David Altmejd contemporary artwork sculpture
David Altmejd Untitled 14 (Guides) Wood, mirror, acrylic paint
185.4 x 78.7 x 64.8 cm
Xavier Hufkens Request Price & Availability
La charge by David Altmejd contemporary artwork sculpture
David Altmejd La charge, 2016 Bronze
182.5 x 52 x 48 cm
Xavier Hufkens Request Price & Availability
Flag Burning by David Altmejd contemporary artwork mixed media
David Altmejd Flag Burning, 2017 Aqua resin, epoxy resin, fiberglass, steel, aluminum, graphite, MSA varnish
114.3 x 94 x 13.9 cm
Xavier Hufkens Request Price & Availability
View 13 More

David Altmejd
current & recent
exhibitions

View 4 More
View 4 More

Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

David Kordansky Gallery contemporary art gallery in Los Angeles, United States
David Kordansky Gallery Los Angeles, New York
White Cube contemporary art gallery in Bermondsey, London, United Kingdom
White Cube Hong Kong, London, New York, Seoul, Paris +2
View 4 More

David Altmejd in
Ocula Magazine

Learn more about the market for works
by David Altmejd.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell

David Altmejd in
Ocula Advisory

David Altmejd in
video & audio

Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow David Altmejd
Stay ahead.
13 new artworks have recently been added.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login