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The University 1

2004

David Altmejd talks about the work The University 1

Visually, it appears to dissolve because it’s all covered with mirrors. All the little rungs are reflected in one another, so it becomes impossible to see them.

 

At first, I had the impression, when I began making the sculpture, that it needed to be inhabited. There was something that left me cold, that frustrated me-as if it were finite. I wanted to make these shapes infinite, and one of the ways of making them infinite was to add something on the inside that would create a contrast with the minimal form. From that point of view, if you want to draw a connection with art history, it looks a lot like Paul Thek: this idea of inhabiting minimal structures, of infecting them. … It may seem contradictory, the idea of infecting something to give it life, but that’s how I saw it. … I see infection, symbolically, as a form of energy, as something positive in my sculpture. give it life, but that’s how I saw it. … I see infection, symbolically, as a form of energy, as something positive in my sculpture.

David Altmejd, in “L’espace intérieur” / interview with François Michaud and Robert Vifian, David Altmejd : Flux (Paris: Paris Musées, 2014), p. 30-31.

Mirrors, wood

The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut

The University 1

2004

My goal was, my initial idea was just to start with an empty cube structure that the minimalist artist Sol LeWitt is very well known for, and simply cover it with mirror to make it disappear. I wanted to make it disintegrate visually. I like the idea that it’s – when you look at it in a certain way – it looks like a very glittery, shiny diamond object, but that actually when you think about it conceptually, what it’s doing is that it’s capturing the image of the world around it. So when you’re walking around it, you can actually see your own reflection in it, in little bits – it’s capturing, it’s absorbing the world around it, sucking it in, fragmenting it, but then it’s transforming it into energy, which I find a very positive, hopeful twist. And there’s a funny story: when I finished making that piece, it was still in my studio, and I left my studio for the day. I turned off the lights and I noticed that there was a little green light in the middle of the structure. So I said, where is that green light coming from? I looked around, and there was no green light in my studio, so I went to the window and I saw that, two blocks away, there was a traffic light. And basically what happened was that that little traffic light had found its way through my window and into the piece, and then found its way into the deepest middle of the piece. I found that very amusing.