David Altmejd



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Current gallery exhibition

23 November 2022 – 21 January 2023
White Cube Mason's Yard

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On the ground floor of the gallery we encounter a human figure with the ears of a hare, seated in yogic pose. Its giant ears, stretching almost to the ceiling, seem to probe the limits of the room, while in front of it is a burrow from which the figure appears to have excavated the very matter from which it is made. The contrast of these feet of clay and ears spread like dragonfly wings suggest that a transformation is occurring, from the material to the ethereal.

The Hare is the presiding spirit of the exhibition, whom Altmejd recognises as the Jungian archetype of the Trickster. According to Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious, our ancestral memories are represented by certain universal themes and roles which appear throughout our literature, art and dreams, and these archetypes can explain our psychology. Trickster is irrational and capricious, a prankster and shapeshifter. He is Hermes, audacious thief and messenger for the Gods, and Loki the gender-switching master of disguise. For the Yoruba he travels between heaven and earth as the contradictory character Eshu, and to First Nations people he is Rabbit, Raven or Coyote, the rule breaker whose mischief brings about change. He surfaces in African-American folk tradition as Br’er Rabbit, and even appears in animated form as Bugs Bunny. The essayist Lewis Hyde, author of Trickster Makes This World (1998) tracks Trickster into the modern age, subsumed into the role of the artist, and makes a case that this playful, subversive and disruptive force is indispensable to the vitality of our culture.


Past gallery exhibitions