New Museum to present First New York Survey of Works by Carsten Höller

This autumn, the New Museum presents the first New York survey exhibition of the work of the German artist Carsten Höller (b. 1961, Brussels, lives and works Stockholm). Over the past twenty years, Höller has created a world that is equal parts laboratory and test site.

Höller left his early career as a scientist in 1993 to devote himself exclusively to art making, and his work is often reminiscent of research experiments. His pieces are designed to explore the limits of human sensorial perception and logic through carefully controlled participatory experiences.

The New Museum’s exhibition will include work produced over the past eighteen years in an immersive, interactive installation choreographed in collaboration with the artist. Höller will actively engage the Museum’s architecture, with each of the three main gallery floors and lobby of the building presenting a focused selection of pieces that demonstrate different experiential dimensions of his work. Functioning as an alternative transportation system within the Museum, one of Höller’s slide installations will run from the fourth floor to the second, perforating ceilings and floors, to shuttle viewers through the exhibition.

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. In addition to the slide, the exhibition will include Höller’s Experience Corridor, where viewers are invited to undertake simple but affecting tests on themselves. 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.

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 Höller’s Giant Psycho Tank (1999), visitors float weightlessly in a sensory deprivation pool, providing a strange out-of-body experience. 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.

“Carsten Höller: Experience” will be on view from October 26, 2011-January 15, 2012, and is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, with Gary Carrion-Murayari, Associate Curator, and Jenny Moore, Assistant Curator. “Carsten Höller: Experience” will be accompanied by a fully illustrated 248-page catalogue that takes the form of a scientific dictionary with entries covering key themes in the artist’s practice. Co-published by Rizzoli and the New Museum, contributors include New Museum curator Massimiliano Gioni, as well as Daniel Birnbaum, Maurizio Cattelan, Germano Celant, Lynne Cooke, Hal Foster, Tim Griffin, Jessica Morgan, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Dorothea von Hantelmann, and others.