News Releases - 2006
David Altmejd will represent Canada at the 2007 Venice Biennale of Visual Art
Ottawa, July 11, 2006 – Montreal artist David Altmejd will be Canada’s official representative at the 2007 Venice Biennale of Visual Art, the world’s oldest and most prestigious venue for the international display of contemporary art. The Galerie de l’UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), which proposed David Altmejd as the Biennale candidate, was the institution selected in a nationwide competition to represent Canadian visual arts at the event. The 52nd edition of the Venice Biennale will take place in 2007.
David Altmejd lives and works in Montreal, Brooklyn and London, England. His project for the Canadian Pavilion in Venice is inspired by his interest in the figure of the werewolf. The work will be a body in the process of blossoming, reflected by an arrangement of mirrors.
Official Canadian participation at the Venice Biennale is coordinated by a committee made up of the Canada Council for the Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. The Galerie de l’UQAM is associated with the committee to organize and fund the Canadian representation at the 2007 Biennale. The Canadian Embassy in Rome assists in the preparation and launch of the exhibition in Italy. The Galerie de l’UQAM is the exhibition’s organizer and Louise Déry, director of the Galerie, is the exhibition curator.
“The Venice Biennale is a wonderful opportunity for Canada to showcase the work of our contemporary artists”, said Robert Sirman, Director of the Canada Council for the Arts. “We are proud to work with the National Gallery and with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to support the Canadian representation in Venice.”
“By conjuring the figure of the werewolf, the giant or colossus, David Altmejd strikes a chord with today’s youth”, said Louise Déry, exhibition curator. “His work expresses a romantic sensibility that rests on a body of humanistic thought with medieval overtones, with references to legends, and monsters from contemporary comic strips and science fiction. The werewolf is a complex figure because it can be viewed as a metaphor of being, divided between good and evil. It is our own destiny we see there, in this age of cloning and genetic manipulation. This atmosphere of vitality should appeal to the imagination of visitors to the Biennale.”
The Canada Council for the Arts oversees the selection process. The selection was made by a jury composed of three experts in Canadian and international contemporary art: Bruce Grenville, curator, Vancouver Art Gallery; Wayne Baerwaldt, director, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art & Design and guest curator, Montreal Biennale; and Anne-Marie Ninacs, curator, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
Images of David Altmejd’s works can be downloaded from the Canada Council image gallery.
David Altmejd has degrees in visual arts from Université du Québec à Montréal (Bachelor of Arts, 1998) and Columbia University (Master of Fine Arts, 2001). He is represented by Andrea Rosen Gallery (New York) and Modern Art Inc. (London, England). He has exhibited in Quebec (notably at the Galerie de l’UQAM in 2001), the United States and Europe. In just a few years, Altmejd caught the attention of the international scene by participating in the biennales of Istanbul (2003) and the Whitney (2004) and with sales of his works to the Guggenheim Museum and Whitney Museum of New York. In 2007, the Galerie de l’UQAM will tour a solo exhibition of the artist’s work to Oakville (ON), Montreal and Calgary.
Galerie de l’UQAM
The Galerie de l’UQAM is a university gallery that produces and presents exhibitions of contemporary Quebec, Canadian and international art, most of them organized by recognized curators. It explores a variety of issues connected with the work of professional artists, while remaining open to emerging currents and the work of students in the visual and media arts, art history and museology. It facilitates the research and editing of high quality specialized publications, manages a program of public activities and circulates exhibitions in Canada and abroad. It also has a mandate to conserve, manage and present the collection of art works of UQAM. Located in the heart of Montreal and its Latin Quarter, surrounded by museums, artist-run centres, libraries, theatres, cinemas and cafes, the gallery attracts a clientele of students, specialists and the general public of the downtown area.
For more information on the role of the Canada Council for the Arts at the 2007 Venice Biennale of Visual Art, please contact Doug Sigurdson, Visual Arts Officer, at 613-566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, ext. 5268.
In addition to the selection and organization of Canada’s representation at the Venice Biennale of Visual Art, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards several prizes in the visual arts, including the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Awards, the York Wilson Endowment Award, and the Duke and Duchess of York Prize.
For more information on these awards and application details, please contact Janet Riedel Pigott, Acting Director of Endowments and Prizes, at 613-566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, ext. 5041, or Danielle Sarault, Acting Officer, Endowments and Prizes, at 613 566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, ext. 4116.
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National Gallery of Canada
Director, Public Affairs
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Head (Visual and Media Arts), International Cultural Relations