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ART X Lagos: Nigeria’s Art Renaissance Ocula Report ART X Lagos: Nigeria’s Art Renaissance 17 November 201817 Nov 2018 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Nigeria's art scene has flourished over the last decade, leading to a renewed interest in cultivating and supporting modern and contemporary art in the country. Ranked Africa's largest economy in 2017, making up 0.8 percent of the world's GDP, a surge in wealth amongst some individuals has led to a developing collector base (not to mention rising...

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Cao Fei Ocula Conversation Cao Fei Artist

Cao Fei's first large-scale institutional exhibition in Asia, A hollow in a world too full (8 September 2018–4 January 2019), is taking place at Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong, the city's new non-profit art centre housed in a former colonial police and prison complex in Central. Organised in collaboration with Ullens Center for Contemporary Art...

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Shanghai's West Bund and Art021 fairs overlap in 2018 Ocula Report Shanghai's West Bund and Art021 fairs overlap in 2018 17 November 201817 Nov 2018 : Diana d’Arenberg for Ocula

The last time I visited West Bund Art & Design was four years ago, when the fair was in its first year of operation: a small, boutique offering held in a cavernous hangar that seemed too big for it. Much has changed since then. Mirroring the rapid development of the city itself, West Bund has grown from 25 galleries in 2014 to a fair that...

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Carsten Höller is an artist working in the realm of rapture. From carnival rides to flying machines, slides and otherworldly sculptures, Höller generates opportunities for his audiences to experience whimsy and delight. He is often associated with relational aesthetics—a style coined in 1996 by Nicolas Bourriaud that focuses on human exchange and social context over object-based art. Born in 1961 to German parents in Brussels, Höller holds a doctoral degree in agricultural science and worked as a research entomologist until 1994. He began to make art in the late 1980s, alongside other artists experimenting with space and experience such as Pierre Huyghe, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Philippe Parreno.

One of Höller's earliest works was Flugmaschine (Flying Machine) (1996), a large steel structure to which viewers are strapped with a paragliding harness and hoisted through the air by an electric motor. Yet Höller is perhaps best known for his enormous, tubular slides, the first of which were made for the 1998 Berlin Biennale. Interested in the temporary loss of control while descending a slide, Höller compares the slider's experience to a phrase describing vertigo by the French writer Roger Caillois: a 'voluptuous panic in an otherwise lucid mind.' Or, in the artist's words, it is 'an emotional state . . . somewhere between delight and madness.' In 2000, Höller installed a slide in the office of Miuccia Prada in Milan, and in 2006, he erected what came to be his most widely recognised project: Test Site—a set of five giant slides in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.

In the same year, Höller's carnival rides were exhibited at at MASS MoCA in North Adams. Titled Amusement Park, the machines moved at dramatically slowed speeds and were kinetic sculptures rather than functioning rides. As in his slides, Höller embraced novelty and play while welcoming the viewer's bewilderment upon encountering carnivalesque 'entertainment' in a museum setting. Similarly, in 2014, his Golden Mirror Carousel was installed in an open-air sculpture court at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. The spectacular carousel was a shining, gilded structure that also revolved at a slowed pace—approximately one rotation per five minutes. By extracting velocity from where it is expected, Höller asked viewers to contemplate the speed expected from both the entertainment industry and everyday life. Höller again dramatically transformed the museum environment for the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum's theanyspacewhatever exhibition in 2008, when he presented Revolving Hotel Room: an installation comprising large rotating glass disks that became fully operational hotel rooms at night.

The effect of Höller's scientific studies are still evident in the artworks of his that incorporate plants, birds, animals and insects. Singing Canaries Mobile (2009) is a gigantic mobile comprising seven birdcages housing live singing canaries—one of the many kinds of birds that the artist keeps in his Stockholm home. Höller has incorporated mushrooms into his work since 1994; in 2000, he fixed massive, whimsical fungi sculptures to the ceiling for Upside Down Mushroom Room at Fondazione Prada in Milan. Alice in Wonderland-like mushroom replicas (Giant Triple Mushrooms [2010]) were seen in his aptly titled 2011 survey exhibition Experience at the New Museum in New York. Höller selected the species of mushrooms (often fly agaric) based on their psychotropic properties. Also seen in Experience were: Giant Psycho Tank (2000), a sensory-deprivation pool that invited viewers to feel temporarily bodiless; Experience Corridor, in which viewers were invited to undertake self-experiments; and Animal Group (2011), an assemblage of life-sized and surreally coloured replicas of creatures.

Höller often describes his art as experiments and likes to bring his work outside of museums. In late 2017, he opened a nine-storey site-specific slide at the entrance to a mall, titled Aventura Slide Tower (2017)—his first permanent slide tower in the United States.

Höller is currently based in Stockholm and shares a house in Ghana with Marcel Odenbach.

Elliat Albrecht | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Double Mushroom Vitrine (Once) by Carsten Höller contemporary artwork Carsten HöllerDouble Mushroom Vitrine (Once), 2015 Cast Polyurethane mushroom replicas in various sizes, acrylic paint, glass discs, metal pins, vitrine glass, powder-coated metal framework
26 x 26 x 31 cm
PKM Gallery Request price & availability
Soma Series III by Carsten Höller contemporary artwork Carsten HöllerSoma Series III, 2008 C-prints on Alu-Dibond, wood, acrylic glass frames, five different compositions,
PKM Gallery Request price & availability
Octopus by Carsten Höller contemporary artwork Carsten HöllerOctopus, 2014 Purple-coloured polyurethane, brown glass eyes,
40 x 171 x 120 cm
PKM Gallery Request price & availability
Slide House Project (Round Tower, Brazzaville) by Carsten Höller contemporary artwork Carsten HöllerSlide House Project (Round Tower, Brazzaville), 2015 Pencil on screen print on Schut Salland paper
82.6 x 67 cm
STPI Request price & availability
Slide House Project (River Reflective High Rise, Singapore) by Carsten Höller contemporary artwork Carsten HöllerSlide House Project (River Reflective High Rise, Singapore), 2015 Pencil on screen print on Schut Salland paper
67 x 89.26 cm
STPI Request price & availability

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind at Hauser & Wirth,
Closed
20 January–7 May 2018 Group Exhibition The Land We Live In – The Land We Left BehindHauser & Wirth, Somerset
Contemporary art exhibition, Carsten Höller, 50% at PKM Gallery,
Closed
25 November–31 December 2015 Carsten Höller 50%PKM Gallery, Seoul

Represented By

Ocula Magazine

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale: The World's Largest Outdoor Art Festival Ocula Report Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale: The World's Largest Outdoor Art Festival 30 August 201830 Aug 2018 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

Running since 2000, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, the largest outdoor art festival in the world, injects art into the landscape of Japan's snow country, littered in the summertime with phosphorescent, green rice paddies that lie flat beneath the mountains of the southern part of Niigata prefecture. Rather than assigning each edition with a new...

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Local to Global: Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018 Ocula Report Local to Global: Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018 13 April 201813 Apr 2018 : Bowen Li for Ocula

Gallery Weekend Beijing was first staged in 2017 on a number of premises, including the fact that Beijing needed an annual event with international appeal to maintain its place as an art destination after the rise of successful art fairs, and an increasing number of museums, in other regional cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. As its title...

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Rirkrit Tiravanija and Tobias Rehberger at STPI, Singapore Ocula Insight Rirkrit Tiravanija and Tobias Rehberger at STPI, Singapore By Elliat Albrecht

A familiar childhood activity to many, the game of 'exquisite corpse' was invented by the Surrealists as a means of assembling disparate images—usually of bodies—to create an unusual and often humorous result. To play, one player draws part of an image, then folds the paper so as to hide their work and reveal only a hint of what the...

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Related Press

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'We Had to Create Something New': Klaus Biesenbach on Inventing the Berlin Biennale Related Press 'We Had to Create Something New': Klaus Biesenbach on Inventing the Berlin Biennale ARTnews : 7 June 2018

Many of the art spaces in early '90s Berlin were located in vacant, abandoned, often ruined buildings that artists had taken over. Artists were running studio collectives and co-ops, outfitting surprising storefronts, and creating nightclubs and music programs. One very influential artist for me was Daniel Pflumm, who was organizing the...

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At STPI Creative Workshop, four artists collaborate on an exhibition of 'Exquisite Trust' Related Press At STPI Creative Workshop, four artists collaborate on an exhibition of 'Exquisite Trust' designboom : 3 April 2017

Exquisite Trust (Blindly Collective Collaborations) is an exhibition taking place at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute from March 18th to April 22nd, 2017. a collaboration between four major international artists — Carsten Höller, Tobias Rehberger, Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija — the exhibition represents a joint undertaking on the part of...

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The beasts within: Artists tap into their wild sides for a roaring show Related Press The beasts within: Artists tap into their wild sides for a roaring show Wallpaper* : 26 November 2016

Rarely before have we seen such a long and varied list of contributors, as we do in Marian Goodman Gallery's group show Animality. The 'cast of creatures' ranges from dogs, camels, fish to octopi, and charts a history from George Orwell to Gabriel Orozco by way of Marcel Broodthaers. Curator Jens Hoffmann, never one to turn down a...

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Carsten Höller's ode to Papa Wemba and Congolese Rumba Related Press Carsten Höller's ode to Papa Wemba and Congolese Rumba AnOther Magazine : 10 May 2016

Carsten Höller has been travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo, undeterred by its long history of conflict, for many years. It remains one of his favourite places on earth. The artist’s love of Congolese rumba — a body-shaking and often politically charged musical style — has permeated several of his works, from the Double...

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