Carsten Höller – Doubt

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It begins with a choice. The first thing visitors see upon entering  Carsten Höller‘s exhibition at the Pirelli HangarBicocca is the Y (2003) installation, compelling them to make a decision in order to start the journey through the surreal world of the artist; a decision that ultimately affects the perception of the show, as the large hall is divided in two.

“You might have the feeling that you are missing out on something because there is always another possibility, or there is always another way to do it,” Höller says

“You might have the feeling that you are missing out on something because there is always another possibility, or there is always another way to do it,” Höller says. This initial interaction with the viewer continues throughout the exhibition, in various forms. A central wall divides the space where more than twenty works are perfectly aligned on two parallel paths. Visitors experience half of the works, depending on their initial choice, and have to remember the installations as they reach the other side and see their missing sections. Sensory participation, duality, the nature of human experience, optical illusions, and altered perception intertwine in this creative labyrinth. Upside-Down Goggles (1994 – ongoing) literally reverses the visitors’ view of the world, Double Carousel (2011) reignites the memories of childhood, while on Two Flying Machines (2015) those who dare can experience the sensation of flight. By contrast, Aquarium (1996) allows the viewer to experience a calm and meditative state. Duplication and duality are interwoven in the fabric of the assembled works. Decisions Corridor (2015) immerses visitors in a dark space where other senses have to take over from the lost sense of sight, while the Light Corridor (2016) stuns with its blinding brightness. At the end of this captivating journey, two beds await for anyone who would like to take a rest (even all through the night). Moving slowly at an almost imperceptible speed, the beds drift the occupiers around the large open space, ensuring that they will wake up in a different place. The Doubt exhibition is curated by Vicente Todolí and it runs from the 7 April to 31 July 2016 at the Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan. Photography by Attilio Maranzano. Images courtesy of Pirelli HangarBicocca.

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