Carsten Höller’s work is first and foremost concerned with altering our basic assumptions about what we see, feel, and understand about ourselves. Over the years, the artist has employed psychotropic drugs, flashing lights, and architectural alterations to overwhelm viewers with visual stimuli and challenge accepted self-perceptions. For example, the new installation Double Light Corner (2011) uses a sequence of flashing lights to give the viewer the sensation that the space around them is flipping back and forth. Höller also has exhibited a variety of adapted amusement park rides, their speeds slowed until they move almost imperceptibly. His Mirror Carousel (2005) provides riders with a radically different physical experience than the traditional fairground merry-go-round, while at the same time reflecting and illuminating the space surrounding it. In such works, Höller invites us to reconsider the meanings of play and participation. In concert with his giant mushroom sculptures and hyperrealistic sculptures of animals, the artist creates a visionary world that hovers below the surface of what we experience every day.
Höller’s art has often taken the form of proposals for radical new ways of living. He has created sculptures and diagrams for visionary architecture and transportation alternatives, like his renowned slide installations and flying cities. These concepts may seem impossible in the present day, but suggest new models for the future. The artist’s proposals and structures invite the viewer to re-imagine the social and sensorial possibilities of domestic space. During the 1990s, Höller collaborated with artist Rosemarie Trockel to create structures shared between humans and animals such as pigs, birds, and mosquitoes, calling into question hierarchies of species and the roles of the observer and the observed. Recently, Höller has invited viewers to share the exhibition space with a variety of creatures from reindeer to canaries to mice.
Posts tagged with Carsten Höller
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