David Altmedj: Flux

In the first collaborative exhibition between the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MACM), Flux represents 15 years of transformative works by Montreal native David Altmedj.  This retrospective is arresting in its depiction of humans, animals and otherworldly organic and fantastical things in their various stages of regeneration and decomposition.  Presented in an assortment of plastic display cases, petri dishes, platforms and mounts, viewers might wonder if they’re stepping into a high school science fair or the props room of the next American Horror Story.  Strangely, the takeaway is a surprising feeling of relatability.

A more memorable mashup looks like a screaming pineapple, where white plaster teeth are carved into the hollow of the fruit: the work is both playful and haunting. By stark contrast, “University 1” is decidedly architectural in its construction of mirrored cubes stacked one on top of the other, and casts a constellation of reflections and shadows onto the ground.  The exhibit is ripe with abrupt detours of this kind, which show incongruous parts alongside or within a more structured framework. According to Curator of the Collections, Josee Belisle, “Altmedj’s work merges the self and the other in the constant, repeated echo of the mirror image and the intensity of the primal, human, animal presence at different moments in the cycle of life.”

The Flux and The Puddle

In “The Flux and The Puddle,” a new site-specific piece created for MACM, the artist’s materials list includes polyurethane foam, hair, leather shoes, thread, glass eyes, sequins, flowers, gold, domestic goose feathers and coconuts, among many other items.

Born in 1974, David Altmedj lives in New York.  His work is currently on view at the National Gallery of Canada; Les Abattoirs, Toulouse; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to name a few. He was also recently named a companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Quebec.

Flux by David Altmedj is on view at MACM through September 13, 2015, or see his permanent installation at the Tiffany & Co flagship store in the Miami Design District (114 NE 39th Street).

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