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The
Island

2011

David Altmejd talks about the work The Island

I don’t see the giants as a humanoids so much, more as landscape or a piece of architecture, so I gave myself the right to represent them upright. And when they became vertical, I allowed myself representations that were more, let’s say “human.” The giant opened the door. All of a sudden, I could take inspiration from the whole history of sculpture.

David Altmejd, in “Infecting Minimalism with David Altmejd [interview by Richard Leydier],” artpress, no. 417 (Dec. 2014), 50.

Polystyrene, expandable foam, epoxy clay, wood, synthetic hair, resin, quartz, Plexiglas, coconuts, acrylic paint, wire, glitter, latex paint

The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut

The
Island

2011

All my work had been developing like architecture that spreads out horizontally. All my sculptures were in the shape of very intricate architectural structures that integrated the body. My goal was actually at that time, for all that time, to make the architectural structure become a body, and make it feel like it was becoming alive like a body, by adding little bits of energy here and there. And it was always horizontal. But then I thought, if I worked on the body of a giant, then I would be able to explore a new space, a new vertical space, and at the same time I would start with the body, and the body would become a sort of architecture. So instead of the other way around, starting with the architecture and making it become a body, I am starting with a body, and that body is so large that it’s actually not really a body. You can’t really identify with a giant. The best you can do is imagine inhabiting it. Because it’s so large, that just a hole in the thigh can become a hiding place for a little animal or something. The other thing that was really important for me, and very interesting, is that for the first time, I was able to work on a body, and when I got closer to it, it was so large that I forgot that it was a body. I was able to focus on part of a leg and just see it as a sort of landscape inside of which I could get lost and work on textures and colours and spaces, but forget that it was a body.