David Altmejd: The Vessel

March 4 - May 22, 2017

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada


David Altmejd, The Vessel, 2011, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

David Altmejd’s work evokes the tensions of the living world – transformation, growth, decay, the infinitely large and the incredibly small.

The Vessel is a monumentally scaled sculpture that incorporates a range of unusual materials, including Plexiglas, crystals, minerals and plaster casts of the artist’s hands. Playing with the relationship between micro and macro scale, this work possesses countless details that build to create a dramatic overall visual experience. The Vessel exists in a space of suspended animation while imbued with energy and movement.

Through his process-driven practice, Altmejd’s works are created through intricate and intuitive acts of making and interacting with a wide range of materials. He endeavours to “…build an object that is complex enough, has enough layers, enough references and energy that it starts feeling like it is alive, that it’s developing the capacity to generate its own meaning – then I can look at it from a distance and learn from it.”

David Altmejd is an internationally acclaimed Canadian sculptor. His work has been exhibited at prominent venues including The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and Tate Liverpool. In 2007 he represented Canada in the 52nd Venice Biennale and in 2009 he was the recipient of the Sobey Art Award.

“What inspired The Vessel was a movement; the movement of something that retracts a little in order to gain energy just before throwing itself forward. Like a wave that draws back and swells with water and energy and is about to crash.”
David Altmejd, 2011


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