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David Altmejd, The Vessel

David Altmejd, The Vessel (2011), Plexiglas, chain, plaster, wood, thread, wire, acrylic paint, epoxy resin, epoxy clay, acrylic gel, granular medium, quartz, pyrite, assorted minerals, adhesive, wire, pins, needles [Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Oct 8-Jan 29] National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa © David Altmejd Photo © NGC

David Altmejd: The Vessel

Art Gallery of Alberta
Edmonton AB – Oct 8, 2016-Jan 29, 2017

Montreal-born Altmejd seemingly came out of nowhere when, as a 32-year-old, he was selected to represent Canada at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. But things are never as they seem in the art world, where even overnight success is hard won. For Altmejd, this included rigorous degree programs at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) and Columbia, followed by his participation in the Istanbul and Whitney Biennales in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

Like his Venice work The Index (2007), which transformed the helicoid-shaped Canadian Pavilion into an aviary, Altmejd once again draws on a range of complementary and incongruous materials to fashion The Vessel (2011), a monumentally-scaled Plexiglas encasement that features casts of the artist’s hands afloat in a body of its own making.

Alongside Altmejd’s plinth-based work is Collection Connections, a thoughtful array of prints, drawings, photographs and sculptures from the AGA collection. Although, as the title suggests, these works are arranged to connect to some of the materials and themes present in The Vessel, they are of course discrete works, and in their arrangement belong as much to the artistic sensibilities of Altmejd and his curator as they do to the artists who made them.


Michael Turner

 Sun, Nov 6, 2016