Carsten Höller applies his training as a scientist to his work as an artist, concentrating particularly on the nature of human relationships. Major installations include Flying Machine (1996), an interactive work in which viewers are strapped into a harness and hoisted through the air; Test Site (2006), a series of giant slides installed in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall; Amusement Park (2006), a large installation at MASS MoCA of full-sized carnival midway rides operating at dramatically slowed speeds; The Double Club (2008–09), a work designed to create a dialogue between Congolese and Western culture in the form of a London bar, restaurant, and nightclub; and Upside-Down Goggles (2009–11), an ongoing participatory experiment with vision distortion through goggles. Höller’s Revolving Hotel Room, an installation that became a fully operational hotel room by night, was featured in the exhibition theanyspacewhatever at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2008–09).
Höller was born in 1961 in Brussels to German parents. Major exhibitions and solo presentations include the 50th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2003); One Day One Day, Färgfabriken, Stockholm (2003); 7th Biennale de Lyon, France (2003); Half Fiction, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2003); 7,8 Hz, Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2004); Une exposition à Marseille, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille (2004); 51st Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2005); Test Site, Tate Modern, London (2006); Amusement Park, MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2006); Carrousel, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2008); The Double Club, Fondazione Prada, London (2008); 28th Bienal de São Paulo (2008); Double Slide, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2009); 53rd Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2009); 8th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2010); Divided Divided, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2010); Soma, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2010); Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2011); Experience, New Museum, New York (2011); 11th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2013); LEBEN, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2014); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2014); Golden Mirror Carousel, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014–15); 56th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2015); Decision, Hayward Gallery, London (2015); Doubt, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy (2016); Video Retrospective with Two Light Machines, Mu.ZEE, Ostend, Belgium (2016); Y, Centro Botín, Santander, Spain (2017); and Sunday, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2019). The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit (2016), Höller’s commissioned addition to Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit (2012), is permanently installed at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London; and his site-specific Aventura Slide Tower (2018) can be experienced at the Aventura Mall, Florida
Höller lives and works in Stockholm and Biriwa, Ghana.
Extended through September 1, 2017
June 20–September 1, 2017
555 West 24th Street, New York
Brutalisten: An Interview with Carsten Höller
This spring, Carsten Höller launched Brutalisten, a new restaurant concept in Stockholm and the latest embodiment of his long-term culinary and artistic project called the Brutalist Kitchen. The twenty-eight-seat restaurant features a menu overseen by chef Stefan Eriksson that adheres to three classifications: “semi-brutalist” dishes (using oil or minimal ingredients), “brutalist” dishes (using salt and water), and “orthodox-brutalist” dishes (no additional ingredients). For the Quarterly, Höller speaks with Gagosian directors Serena Cattaneo Adorno and Mark Francis about this terminology, the importance of experimentation, and the fortuitous side effects of brutalist cuisine.
Daniel Birnbaum speaks with the artist about the “unsaturated” in his work.
Carsten Höller’s ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide
Carsten Höller talks with Derek Blasberg about his lifelong obsession with slides, the reactions that he intends from his creations, and the concept of fun.
On May 3, 2022, Carsten Höller will launch Brutalisten, a new restaurant concept in Stockholm and the latest embodiment of his long-term culinary and artistic project labeled the Brutalist Kitchen. The 28-seat restaurant will adhere to Höller’s “Brutalist Kitchen Manifesto,” a set of rules created in loose reference to Brutalist architecture, which is characterized by an emphasis on bare building materials over decorative design. The menu is classified in three sections: “Semi-Brutalist” dishes (using oil or minimal ingredients), “Brutalist” dishes (using salt and water), and “Orthodox-Brutalist” dishes (no additional ingredients).
Carsten Höller inside Brutalisten, Stockholm, 2022. Photo: Pierre Björk
Seven Sliding Doors Corridor (Outdoor Version)
Carsten Höller’s installation Seven Sliding Doors Corridor (Outdoor Version), recently installed at Luma Arles, France, consists of electronic sliding doors with mirrored surfaces on both sides, through which a viewer can walk in an apparently endless passage. The doors are installed inside a corridor that traverses a pond in a garden. Motion sensors cause them to slide open when someone approaches and close when the person moves away. As a result, the movements of viewers alternately break and bind the visual limits of the space, which can be entered from either end of the corridor, increasing the likelihood of unexpected encounters.
Carsten Höller, Seven Sliding Doors Corridor (Outdoor Version), 2021, installation view, Luma Arles, France © Carsten Höller. Photo: Adrian Deweerdt
Carsten Höller has developed a site-specific slide for the Tower at Luma Arles, France, designed by Frank Gehry. According to Höller, “a slide is a sculpture that you can travel inside” and experience a unique emotional state situated between pleasure and madness. However, the artist emphasizes that it is not necessary to use the slide to make sense of it—observing other visitors travel between levels of the building is an equally stimulating experience.
Carsten Höller, Isometric Slides, 2021 (detail), installation view, The Tower, Luma Arles, France © Carsten Höller. Photo: Mark Domage
What a Wonderful World
Through March 12, 2023
Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome
This exhibition brings together major installations by fourteen international artists including key works from the museum’s collection and others commissioned for the occasion. The works on display investigate issues of scientific and technological progress relating to the challenges of the contemporary era. Work by Carsten Höller and Tatiana Trouvé is included.
Tatiana Trouvé, Les indéfinis, 2018 © Tatiana Trouvé
October 5, 2021–February 28, 2022
Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon
Carsten Höller: Day brings together an array of works producing light and darkness, including sculptures that function as lamps, projections, and architectural interventions, dating from 1987, when Höller was working as a scientist, to today. More than twenty works, many re-created especially for this show, unfold across the museum in an arrangement that creates a dialogue with its architecture. The exhibition space is illuminated exclusively by Höller’s art, leading audiences through multisensory experiences of altered perception.
Carsten Höller, Divisions (Turquoise Lines and Pink Circles), 2014 © Carsten Höller
Dyr i kunsten
March 21, 2020–January 10, 2021
Arken Museum, Ishoj, Denmark
Dyr i kunsten, or Animals in Art, features sculpture, installations, video, photography, and paintings by a wide array of international artists whose work explores the ways that humans study, categorize, live with, and use animals and how we thus attempt to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. Work by Douglas Gordon, Damien Hirst, and Carsten Höller is included.
Installation view, Dyr i kunsten, Arken Museum, Ishoj, Denmark, May 26, 2020–January 10, 2021. Artwork © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020. Photo: David Stjernholm
September 28, 2019–April 13, 2020
In this exhibition Carsten Höller examines the theme of reproduction, adopting an approach that is at once scientific and artistic. The museum is transformed into a large, biology-based playscape where, for example, the visitors are encouraged to crawl through the pips of a die, and where slow-moving merry-go-rounds and corridors of mirrors affect their sensory perceptions.
Carsten Höller, Gartenkinder, 2014 © Carsten Höller. Photo: Mike Bruce