Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
David Altmejd’s first major exhibition in France was stunning in scope. His strange and exotic forms offer myriad opportunities for viewer interaction, though the mirrors that were so prominent in his installation at the Canadian Pavilion (2007 Venice Biennale) seemed not as evident here. The mirrors that did appear were arranged in unusual configurations, as in University 1, which references Sol LeWitt’s cognitive, geometric sculptures. Mirrored, the work reflects one part onto the other. Altmejd also compares University 1 to Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing. Sarah Altmejd, named after the artist’s sister—a work that he calls a self-portrait, a Siamese twin, or a combination of his mother and father—is very beautiful, mainly because of its flowing hair. At the same time, the head is disturbing: there is no face, only a gouged-out black hole surrounded by black crystals. Altmejd’s signature juxtaposition of the beautiful and the grotesque began here. Further into the exhibition, what appeared to be the figure of a slim, elegantly dressed man, when seen from a distance and from behind, morphed into a white-headed birdman that still remained disturbingly real (Man 2). As I toured the exhibition with curator François Michaud, we discussed Altmejd’s male giants: some hairy, others with coconut heads, hands, and ears, many bearing imprints of the artist’s fingers scraping through the plaster. …see the entire review in the print version of September’s Sculpture magazine.