David Altmejd:
The Orbit

Organized by David Norr, Chief Curator

October 8, 2012December 30, 2012

David Altmejd’s sculptures contain a dazzling energy, at once biological, kinetic, and surreal. The Orbit (2012) presents a fractured array of fruits, chains, thread, glass, oozing fluids, and strange body parts. The complex spatial construction shifts viewers’ awareness of their own bodies and surroundings. It cannot be entirely seen from any one perspective; viewers must circle the vitrine and look in at every angle, often confronting their own reflections. Transparency and visual echoes lead to moments of confusion, doubt, and discovery. Things come together, only to fall apart at a glance.

Integrating crystal and flesh, sparkle and abyss, Altmejd conveys the radical potential of self-transfiguration. Smashed mirrors and crushed cherries give the work a violent edge, while pastel werewolf hands and choppy wigs verge on ugly and vulgar. Yet each of these elements gives visual and sensual pleasure, set in a rupturing, gooey system of wonder.

The Orbit is part of Altmejd’s ongoing series of vitrine works. Often found in natural history museums, vitrines are clear display cases that symbolize order, classification and knowledge. Altmejd’s vitrines suggest that it is more interesting to gaze at what is live and mysterious, than what is still and known. 

David Altmejd (1974, Montréal, Canada) lives and works in New York. He has been featured in solo exhibitions at The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich; Oakville Galleries, Canada; and MAGASIN - Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France. In 2007, he represented Canada at the 52nd Venice Biennale. His work is represented in the United States by Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 

The Orbit is a special project for the exhibition Inside Out and From the Ground Up

Click to download a PDF of the exhibition brochure.


This exhibition is funded by Leadership Circle gifts supporting inaugural year programs and exhibitions.

Britton Fund  
Agnes Gund
Scott Mueller
Rosalie and Morton Cohen Family 
Doreen and Dick Cahoon
Becky Dunn
Harriet and Victor Goldberg
Donna and Stewart Kohl
Toby Devan Lewis
Community support from InterContinental Hotel Cleveland.