the center’, 2008 (mixed media)©david altmejd (photo by ellen page wilson)
cast of characters the unusual nature of altmejd’s work is perhaps one of the key reasons behind his quick rise to prominence. figures made from an assortment of plaster, morphed mannequin parts, animal heads, crystals and birds are his primary subject. he combines these things togetherto create a fantastical world that plays with the conventions of reality. a dying werewolf with mirrored crystals spouting out of it and a giant’s head filled withtiny rooms like a dollhouse are only some of the scenes depicted in his artwork. his work thus occupies a niche in the contemporary art world which is very much his own. altmejd has stated that he explores a fantasy world in his work because it serves as a device with which he can put reality into perspective. for example, altmejd very rarely chooses to portray human figures because he believes they are over-explored in art. instead, he depicts mythical creatures like werewolves and giants. while surreal and fantastical, these figures still have many human-like characteristics. this proximity to reality allows viewers to relate to his characters, but there is still enough of a difference to create a weird tension.