The Galerie de l’UQAM is offering the public a chance to appreciate — or to discover — the artist David Altmejd, who will represent Canada at the 2007 Venice Biennale. An exhibition devoted entirely to his work has been organized by the curator and director of the Galerie de l’UQAM, Louise Déry, as part of the Biennale de Montréal. Entitled simply David Altmejd, it features works spanning the past ten years. The exhibition, open to the public from May 11 to July 8, 2007, and accompanied by a catalogue by Louise Déry, will be Altmejd’s largest exhibition yet in Canada. The artist will be in Montreal for the opening, May 10 at 5:30 p.m.
Altmejd was chosen to represent Canada at the 2007 Venice Biennale (June 10 to November 21, 2007), and he will present two monumental works there: The Index and The Giant 2. Dividing his time among London, New York, and his hometown, Montreal, the artist has, in just a few years, attracted interest from contemporary art critics and specialists on the international scene. Born in Montreal in 1974, David Altmejd is represented by Andrea Rosen Gallery (New York) and Stuart Shave/Modern Art (London). He has degrees in visual art from UQAM (BA, 1998) and Columbia University (MFA, 2001). He has exhibited in Québec (Galerie de l’UQAM, Skol, Optica, Clark, B-312), the United States (Andrea Rosen Gallery, Whitney Museum) and Europe (Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Museum Ludwig).
The singularity of David Altmejd’s work is revealed through five major works that show his interest in energy and bodily transformation, as well as his predilection for contrasting aesthetic tensions and issues of formalism and postmodernism. He scrutinizes the features of many a ghost from earlier artistic traditions—the pedestal, the ornament, the recumbent tomb figure, the vanitas, the relic, the replica—transforming them with scintillating mirror effects. His works have a labyrinthine complexity: pastiches and fragments of bodies are deployed in an exuberantly theatrical decor, decorated with glitter and jewellery, charms, crystals, flowers, squirrels, and more.
Curator, author and teacher, Louise Déry holds a doctorate in Art History and has been Director of the Galerie de l’Université du Québec à Montréal since 1997. She was previously a curator at both the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and has published more than 50 exhibition catalogues. In 2006, she was named curator of the Canadian Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale after proposing an exhibition of the works of David Altmejd. An enthusiastic promoter of the artist’s work in Canada, Déry also organized a travelling David Altmejd exhibition, which circulated throughout the country. She has been showing Altmejd’s work since 2000.
A first catalogue
In the first catalogue devoted to the artist, we find an essay by Louise Déry that covers 10 years of the artist’s production and explains the principal aspects of his research and his art. More than 60 colour reproductions accompany the text, abundantly documenting his work, in particular The University 2, an important sculpture created in 2004 and acquired by the Guggenheim Museum, and Delicate Men in Positions of Power, created by Altmejd for the Whitney Biennial Exhibition in 2003 and subsequently acquired by the Whitney Museum. The catalogue was designed by Marc-André Roy of Makara.
In June, as part of the 2007 Venice Biennale, the Galerie de l’UQAM will publish a second book presenting the two works specially created for the Canadian Pavilion. This publication has been designed by Uniform.
David Altmejd at the Glerie de l’UQAM, fro; May 11 to july 8, 2007, is an excellent opportunity to experience an array of works by this exceptional young artist.
The Galerie de l’UQAM’s production of the travelling exhibition David Altmejd was made possible thanks to the support of the Ministry of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. Aeroplan also assisted in the circulation of the exhibition, via its cultural event sponsorship program.
Canada’s official presence at the Venice Biennale and the production of the exhibition David Altmejd: The Index were made possible thanks to the financial and administrative support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the National Gallery of Canada. The Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, the Ministère des Relations internationales du Québec, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Ville de Montréal and Tourisme Montréal also supported the project. DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Galerie de l’UQAM’s exclusive private partner, offered exceptional support in organizing the exhibition. Aeroplan is the official sponsor of the Galerie de l’UQAM.