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'They've Always Been Inside My Practice': Watch Artist David Altmejd Build Disembodied Heads From Leftover Materials | Artnet News

‘They’ve Always Been Inside My Practice’: Watch Artist David Altmejd Build Disembodied Heads From Leftover Materials | Artnet News

The Canadian-born sculptor David Altmejd is a master of world-building. His large-scale installations and intimately scaled sculptures are like Russian nesting dolls of stories and materials, with layers upon layers of ornamentation that each have distinct meaning.

In an exclusive interview with Art21 filmed in 2013, the artist described his obsession with crafting heads out of leftover materials from his larger works.

They’ve always been inside my practice. They’ve always been inside my landscape,” Altmejd told Art21. Using materials such as quartz, mirrors, foam, clay, leather, wood, hair, and steel, the heads he creates are microcosms of his larger works—”drawings,” as he describes them, that counterbalance the massive sculptures alongside them. 

At David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles, a show of new sculptures by Altmejd titled “The Enlightenment of the Witch” explores and how spirituality is expressed in material form. In the works on view, disembodied heads are set atop plinths throughout the gallery, becoming more fractured as the show progresses.

Many of the works have piercing eyes that uncannily stare out from lumpy clay faces, as if they’re possessed.

“I love those ideas of the inside, the outside, the infinite, the infinitely large, the infinitely small, the mind—everything is in that head,” he said. 

Watch the video, which originally appeared as part of Art21’s Extended Play series, below. “David Altmejd: The Enlightenment of the Witch” it on view at David Kordansky Gallery through July 2, 2021. 


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