giants: part metal packets

Apparently, size does matter.They are giants. twelve feet high; a haunting reminder of the ancient nephilim said to have wandered the earth in a remote past. But these are mythological monsters transformed into autonomous  structures that do feed a certain taste for morbidity, like a Louis Vuitton or Prada goth, and a overall attraction to strangeness. There are sculptural references to Brancusi, Rodin and Michelangelo and a slight touch of humor in these large-scale shamans of some lost and now found ritual; a reflection of some dredged up trauma and neuroses.

---Crystals, transformation, suspense, energy: these concepts are all very present in David Altmejd’s work. It’s like Jim Henson’s film The Dark Crystal (1982), taking place in ‘another world, another time,… in the age of wonder’. This mysterious other world again comes to life here. The dark element in Altmejd’s work (the werewolf, decapitation, decomposed bodies…) has led to the label of ‘modern gothic’. Before being an artist Altmejd planned to become an evolutionary biologist. Perhaps that’s why he constantly creates these remarkable symbioses between architecture and biology.--- Read More:

That is what I like about giants, this impossibility to be identified to our own body, because they are too tall. But the mirrored objects give an impression of more transparency, which creates a kind of contradiction between heavy and imposing dimensions, and the ghostly side of the mirror. I always try to find ways to make my sculptures alive, to inject poetic energy in references to nature. The use of crystals for instance suggests growth and transformation, whereas gold chains give birth to certain energy. I like the idea that if the viewer would come in two days, the sculpture would be totally different. This effect is the same with the mirrors, where the transformations are never-ending. Read More:

---“For years I was making those sort of presentation structures, and using those spaces to hide weird objects inside,” he says, referring to pieces like The University 2. “Now I’m really into the reverse, the idea of the giant transforming into architecture. I hate to get into specifics of symbolic meaning, but I think the giant can be seen as a metaphor for nature or the environment. And it’s interesting for me to see that body as a little world, a total universe inside of which I can lose myself for days.” Read More image:


It could be seen as the nightmare scenario of transhumanism. A Brave New World of Huxley in these cyborg like creatures that startle and creep. Its beautiful and the beast and the foreboding darkness is winning with its appeal to primal fears. They resemble some of the wild creations that appeared in sci-fi comic books of the 1950′s cooked up by war traumatized artists before the comics code came into force.

The robotic effect is not on purpose, even though mirrors give this metallic impression. A few critics asked me the relation I perceive between the body and technology, but this is not something of interest for me. It may be for Cronenberg. I personally prefer the power of strangeness, which is totally underrated, when it is as significant as humor or horror. However I like the feelings that Cronenberg transmits to his viewer, faced with strangeness….

---For years werewolves were a particular obsession of Altmejd’s. “It is really powerful to see a human body part on a table, but by now it’s become commonplace,” he explains, mentioning the work of Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgoise as the most obvious examples. “I thought using a monster would be just as powerful, but weird instead of familiar. I chose the werewolf kind of intuitively but also because there’s a kind of symbolic potential there. You think about double identity and transformation.” Read More image:

…What about his metaphor of sexuality, especially in his movie Existenz? The idea of his “game part” being linked to something umbilical which and that goes through a hole close to the anus totally fascinates me. Read More:

---the unusual nature of altmejd’s work is perhaps one of the key reasons behind his quick rise to prominence. figures made from an assortment of plaster, morphed mannequin parts, animal heads, crystals and birds are his primary subject. he combines these things together to create a fantastical world that plays with the conventions of reality. a dying werewolf with mirrored crystals spouting out of it and a giant’s head filled with tiny rooms like a dollhouse are only some of the scenes depicted in his artwork. his work thus occupies a niche in the contemporary art world which is very much his own. --- Read More:htt

The sculptures tend to give the impression that Altmejd takes sex into strangely decorative, materially obsessive, convoluted and psychotic directions, which are saved or restrained by a childlike aspect which provides the tension between the horrific and a semblance of glamor; the mix of the creepy and funny breaking the viewer from losing themselves in a create-it-yourself narrative.


Another influence that struck me immediately was of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Both he and Altmejd mix the real and the faux-mythical, fairytale and symbolic allusions to create unsettling worlds. Borges’s narratives accomplish this by hinting at horror, whereas Altmejd spreads out a yard sale of disquieting elements to bring on the shivers. Read More:


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