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Carsten Höller, Doubt
HangarBicocca, Milan

3 June 2016

Fifteen years after his last solo exhibition in the city, Milan is celebrating Carsten Höller (Brussels, 1961) with a show presenting more than twenty of his most significant works as well as a number of new ones. Staged by Pirelli HangarBicocca and curated by Vicente Todolí—who in 2006, as director of the Tate Modern, inaugurated the legendary Test Site in the Turbine Hall—Doubt is a great play of symmetries in which each intervention is able to face visitors with a perceptual disorientation, a choice or a doubt. They are in fact welcomed by Y (2003), a forked corridor lined with flashing lights that requires them to choose which route to take through the exhibition: the paths lead to two disconcerting installations, Division Walls (2016) and Decision Corridors (2015). After these, visitors enter the heart of the exhibition, which has been laid out in mirror fashion. Each work has a perfectly symmetrical double and offers the viewer the possibility of playing and interacting with it: for example by walking through Revolving Doors (2004/16), a pentagon of doors with a reflective surface, or by putting on the Upside-Down Goggles (1994/2011), which offer an inverted view of reality. And they can take a turn on Double Carousel (2011), an exasperatingly slow merry-go-round that is perhaps one of the artist’s best-known creations. “I think that abstraction is one of art’s true purposes; it is one of the ways in which we moved away from nature for the first time,” explains Höller, who since the beginning of his career, in the early nineties, has counted on the active participation of the public, i.e. on relational art as the French critic Nicolas Bourriaud has defined it a posteriori. Höller, in particular, has constructed an aesthetic that refers to his studies of science, making the viewer the subject of experiments aimed at investigating the physiology of perception. It is also possible to spend the night at the exhibition, thanks to the installation Two Roaming Beds—Grey (2015), in which two single beds move along the floor without stopping, but at an almost imperceptible rate, preventing their occupants from ever dropping off completely, so that they remain in an unusual state between waking and sleep.

Carsten Höller, Doubt
Curated by Vicente Todolí
Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan
April 7-July 31

Carsten Höller, Neon Elevator, 2005. Foto: Shigeo Muto. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, Neon Elevator, 2005. Photo: Shigeo Muto. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, Aquarium, 1996. Foto: Benoit Pailley. Courtesy: Carsten Höller e Massimo de Carlo, Milano / London.

Carsten Höller, Aquarium, 1996. Photo: Benoit Pailley. Courtesy: Carsten Höller and Massimo de Carlo, Milan / London.

Carsten Höller, Phi Wall II, 2002. Foto: Stefan Frank-Jensen. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, Phi Wall II, 2002. Photo: Stefan Frank-Jensen. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, 
Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, 2011. Foto: Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy di Enel Contemporanea & MACRO, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Roma, e Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, 
Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, 2011. Photo: Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy: Enel Contemporanea & MACRO, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, and Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, 
Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, 2011. Foto: Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy di Enel Contemporanea & MACRO, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Roma, e Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, 
Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, 2011. Photo: Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy: Enel Contemporanea & MACRO, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, and Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, Red Double Sphere, 2009. Foto: Joshua White. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, Red Double Sphere, 2009. Photo: Joshua White. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, Two Roaming Beds, 2015. Foto: Elzbieta Bialkowska, 2015. Courtesy: Carsten Höller. Prodotto in collaborazione con Hayward Gallery, Londra, Bonniers Konsthall, Stoccolma e Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano

Carsten Höller, Two Roaming Beds, 2015. Photo: Elzbieta Bialkowska, 2015. Courtesy: Carsten Höller. Produced in cooperation with Hayward Gallery, London, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan.

Carsten Höller, Two Flying Machines, 2015. Foto: Elzbieta Bialkowska. Courtesy: Carsten Höller e Gagosian Gallery.

Carsten Höller, Two Flying Machines, 2015. Photo: Elzbieta Bialkowska. Courtesy: Carsten Höller and Gagosian Gallery.

Carsten Höller, Flying Mushrooms, 2015. Foto: Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy: Carsten Höller e Gagosian Gallery. Prodotto in cooperazione con Hayward Gallery, Londra e Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano.

Carsten Höller, Flying Mushrooms, 2015. Foto: Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy: Carsten Höller e Gagosian Gallery. Produced in cooperation with Hayward Gallery, London and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan.

Carsten Höller, Upside-Down Goggles, 1994-in corso. Foto: Elzbieta Bialkowska. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.

Carsten Höller, Upside-Down Goggles, 1994-ongoing. Photo: Elzbieta Bialkowska. Courtesy: Carsten Höller.



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