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
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
Carsten Höller has developed a site-specific 40-meter slide for the Danish Architecture Center, Copenhagen. The spiral slide takes visitors from the Exhibition Forum four stories down to the ground floor. Of these playful structures Höller says, “Why are slides not used in architecture, to complement stairs, elevators, and escalators?” DAC Slide was donated by the Ny Carlsbergfondet.
Carsten Höller, DAC Slide, 2020 (detail), installation view, Danish Architecture Center, Copenhagen © Carsten Höller. Photo: courtesy the artist and Ny Carlsbergfondet
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
September 26, 2019–February 23, 2020
Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark
Carsten Höller’s work aims to involve its viewers both physically and mentally, often arriving at an intersection between play, science, and art. In Behaviour, visitors experience contact with artwork that enables disruption or transformation of the way they view their surroundings via light, sound, smell, mirror images, and other means.
Carsten Höller, Upside-Down Goggles, 1994– © Carsten Höller. Photo: Elzbieta Bialkowska
Carsten Höller in
May 10–November 24, 2019
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice
Expanded features three newly commissioned works in stone by Marina Abramović, Carsten Höller, and Julião Sarmento. Höller presents a large-scale die made of Portuguese limestone based on his 2014 sculpture Dice (White Body, Black Dots). The exhibition is part of Primeira Pedra (First Stone), an experimental international research program that explores the potential of Portuguese stone. The project is managed by experimentadesign and cofunded by the EU.
Carsten Höller, Dice (Limestone), 2019 (in progress) © Carsten Höller. Photo: Ricardo Gonçalves