David Altmejd talks about the work Untitled 2 (Bodybuilders)
I worked on a series of giants in which I wanted to explore different ways of conceiving things. So, there were hairy giants, others that were covered with mirrors, yet others still made with cotton. One was made from casts of my hands. Their action was deliberately ambiguous. Were they in the process of forming the body? Or, were they destroying it? Were they digging holes, moving matter? Or, quite simply, were they just touching that same body, introducing a more sensual dimension? Later I applied this idea to bodies on a human scale. These were the Bodybuilders, which used their own hands to transport material and transform their own bodies.
Plaster, wood, foam, burlap
The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut
The Bodybuilders is a series of figures that I’ve been working on. It’s interesting because actually I’m not making reference to the bodybuilders that are just trying to bulk up and become huge muscles. But it’s literally a body builder because he is building his own body. He’s using his own hands to take matter, material, from certain parts of his body and put it in other places of his body. So the sculpture itself is a figure that’s in control of its own shape. I like that. That’s kind of why I thought it was interesting also to make the head full of hands. Because I like this confusion between thinking and making. I like the idea of thinking with my hands and touching with my head – I like that confusion, so I thought it was appropriate to make a head made of hands. And if you notice, there are a lot of little traces in that sculpture: you can notice a little yellow colour here and there. The yellow colour, for example, comes from the yellow paint that was on the fresh blade, saw blade, that I used to cut certain parts of the plaster. Of course I wanted to leave it there because for me, I want the object to be the result of its making. If you look at a person, I think that what defines the identity of a person is its history. You can’t erase its history. If you erase its history, it becomes a sort of dead image.