ART & DESIGN

Inside David Altmejd’s Crystal Palace


Photographer: Vincent Dilio

With its towering Styrofoam giants, boxes of glass eyeballs, and plastic fruit pyramids, artist David Altmejd’s light-filled studio in Long Island City, New York, resembles a mad scientist’s lab. Informed by his background in biology, Altmejd’s space is a reflection of his work, which engages nature’s complex systems and structures through sculpture. In preparation for Flux, his upcoming retrospective at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal in Canada, the Montreal native offers a peek into his experimental practice.

Altmejd’s “Flux” opens June 20th at Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, macm.org.

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

Artist David Altmejd in his Long Island City studio.

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“When you are working, there is always something to twist, add, subtract. I like the idea that I am sort of suggesting this endless potential. You could zoom in forever.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“Even if it is just a little detail—like hammering a hole in a mirror—I like to inject a bit of energy into every piece.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“Why am I interested in the kiwi not the apple? Why the coconut and not the lemon? I’m not sure. I used to only incorporate nature that was native to Montreal. The fruits add a kind of exoticism.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I walk to work almost every day with Floyd. It takes me an hour and a half and it’s almost like meditation. It helps me clear out all those ideas, so when I get here I can access the more intuitive part of my brain.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“Different parts of the studio are specialized. There’s a woodshop, there’s a space where we make the sculptures, a place to paint. It’s necessary to have a plan.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“When I do site-specific projects, I always visit the space. This show involved so much work that I needed to be able to visualize the layout.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I think mistakes are part of the process. My work is not predesigned. I like when an object doesn’t look controlled. It makes it look more alive. It has its own will, its own intelligence, its own sexuality. “

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“What is really amazing about sculpture is that it exists in real space. It doesn’t exist in the realm of representation—it breathes and occupies the same space that a body does.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“When I’m making something, I’m not just trying to make an object but something that I’m going to be able to eventually use as a resource for the next work. I want it to generate its own ideas.”

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Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I like the idea that a sculpture could function as a person. Every state is perfect and infinitely complex.”