It’s all in the details: David Altmejd’s “The Holes” is currently on display at Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.
Hearing David Altmejd speak about his work re-enforces the benefit of an artist’s intuitive creative process. Addressing a full lecture hall at OCAD University last Tuesday, March 25th, the internationally-acclaimed Altmejd wound his way through a slideshow of his best- and lesser-known works, jumping from topic to topic, but always coming back to the importance of energy and visceral experience in his art and process. If you’ve seen his work in person you can probably attest to how playful and seemingly magical it is–it turns out that Altmejd shares this sentiment about his work as well.
It was surprising to hear how little planning goes into the creation of a sculpture. Altmejd’s large-scale works, like The Index and The Holes (both currently on display at the AGO and MoCCA, respectively) begin with rough sketches which he admits never resemble the finished work.
Because Altmejd works from detail to detail, the resulting sculptures are highly intuitive for both artist and viewer. Equally important to Altmejd is carrying the energy generated by his creative process through to the final form. Like electrical circuitry, small links and lines like gold chain and hand-dyed thread, work to carry the eye across the full expanse of the sculpture. This sensory experience is central to Altmejd’s work. We know it’s difficult, but try not to overthink it–trust us.
If the work is able to make me laugh, scare me, or make me embarrassed, that’s a good thing because it makes me feel like [the work] exists. That’s the most important thing for me, to make something that’s going to exist so intensely in this world.
Watch the full talk at OCAD University here