Carsten Holler
WORDS
REPORTING
TAG
BROWSING
SHARE
Facebook
WhatsApp
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Email
Twitter

The aesthetic of playground. Carsten Höller invites our inner child

It’s never about irony – even if, according to Carsten Höller, it is impossible to go down a slide without smiling

Unilever Series

The world is a playground. The 58-meter slide installed in Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern Gallery in London between 2006 and 2007 was called Test Site: financed by Unilever, it was one of the seven works commissioned in the Unilever Series. Today similar slide playfully dominates Prada’s Milanese offices. Carsten Höller transforms the world into a place where anything is possible and where fantasy has no limits of reason or normality.

Hangar Bicocca Doubt

The show Doubt was open to the public at Hangar Bicocca in Milan until the end of July and the Two Roaming Beds (Grey) installation was an episode of it. I sent two Lampooners to sleep inside the Hangar. The two beds moved in space, tracing graphic shapes on the floor, perhaps following the magnetic lines emanated by a fluoride-altered dream. I wouldn’t have slept in the Hangar: I just accompanied the two Lampooners like a parent accompanying the kids to a party, and I would have returned to pick them up after the party was over. We are in Höller’s semiotics. I was late: riding my motorbike, I was held in check by invisible restraints so I wouldn’t race across the intersection at red lights. Höller was waiting for me at the door. A phytopathologist born in Brussels in 1961, Höller currently lives and works in both Stockholm and Biriwa, Ghana. He has a PhD in Agricultural Science and graduated with a thesis on the olfactive communication between insects. He is also specialized in chemical ecology.

Carsten Holler
CARSTEN HÖLLER PORTRAYED BY ALEX JOHN BECK

Höller’s slide

When a man descends a long, round slide, tumbling along the way, he not only has fun, but he also feels fear, irritation, exertion, and physical pleasure. A human being is distracted by all of this on a slide, and with this precise amount of distraction – a combination of the right amount of fun and tension on the slide – Carsten Höller feels it is the right moment for slipping beneath any attempt to understand reality. It’s never about irony – even if Höller says that it’s impossible to go down a slide without smiling. He’s the Willy Wonka of contemporary art and the infinite column of Brancusi. A kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind – wrote Roger Caillois in the fifties, describing a slide.

Carsten Holler – a character

As children, we have too many things to do: we are so distracted – a kite to fly, a marble to roll, a word to say. «Try thinking of a wave in the sea and then quickly think of snow.» You laugh like a child. «Silence closes your ears, right? Go ahead. Try it.» If Carsten Höller were a fictional character in my book, I’d imagine him in Venice, on the verge of courageous deeds, wide awake for a thousand nights in a thousand corners. The steps of the Chiesa della Salute, a marble stage and a white waltz. I’d imagine him there, as if he were still waiting for me. He’d tell me not to pay too much attention to others and to not believe what others tell you… «You only live once. If it’s true that you only live once, at least this time, you have to live this life.» He’d tell me… «When you walk beside a person who has always known you and you feel a shiver because you’re moved seeing him walk there next to you, without a reason, don’t stop that tear from falling. Don’t try to understand it. Simply, do everything, fight, and beg, so you won’t find yourself shedding all your tears in one day – on the day that person dies.»

IMAGE GALLERY

Carsten Höller, born in 1961, is a German artist. He works between Sweden and Ghana

Matteo Mammoli

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

SHARE
Facebook
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Email
WhatsApp
Twitter