Copenhagen Contemporary (CC) and Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg are joining forces to present two simultaneous, related exhibitions by German-born artist Carsten Höller opening in late September – the artist’s first museum exhibitions in Denmark.
This autumn visitors to the two institutions will become experimental subjects in the world of Carsten Höller, renowned for his immersive installations involving the public. His artworks incorporate elements from playgrounds, zoos, and amusement parks and are often presented in a pseudo-scientific environment. Höller holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences and worked as a scientist for several years before becoming an artist. His works often reflect his background by evoking scientific practice whilst falling short of being actual experiments.
Gigantic fly agaric mushrooms, carousels, smells and mirrors will greet the visitors, who represent, in the words of art critic Baldo Hauser, the ‘real material’ of the exhibitions. These dual exhibitions, Reproduction at CC and Behaviour at Kunsten, will provide the audience with a unique opportunity to see a broad selection of works from throughout the artist’s career – from some of his very earliest works to new site-specific installations – and represent a new and promising partnership between the two Danish art institutions.
“With this collaboration, we connect the country and are able to provide a fully-formed picture of the artist. It will be a great pleasure to be able to do this,” says Gitte Ørskou, director of Kunsten Museum of Modern Art.
“We are pleased to be able to present a joint exhibition by Carsten Höller in collaboration with Kunsten in Aalborg. Höller’s works often exhibit the characteristics of scientific research that in some instances makes the viewer the subject of an experiment, as will also be evident at Copenhagen Contemporary and Kunsten. Carsten Höller firmly believes in the transformative potential of art which, transgressing normal conventions and awareness, allows us to see the world, our behavioural patterns and objects in a new way,” says Marie Nipper, director of CC.
The exhibitions, Reproduction at CC and Behaviour at Kunsten, will complement each other in terms of both content and form, exploring the human experience of and response to the world around us, including art exhibitions. The works in both institutions disrupt and alter our experience of and conduct within the exhibitions. “This is pure ‘Unsaturated Art’, an art form that lacks objects containing art, but is, instead, based on the functions of the artwork to be completed or executed by the visitors with the objects at their disposal.” (Baldo Hauser)
At CC Höller tackles the theme of Reproduction. Early on in the process of sexual reproduction mitosis occurs: a division of a mother cell into two identical daughter cells. This principle of division in two units, and the division of the divided units again and again, is the basis for the installation in CC’s large exhibition space, Hall 1, which will be divided by a bespoke colourscape created by the artist and based on the same principle of division as applies in the case of reproduction. Visitors to this colourful environment can crawl through the eyes of a die, mount one of the two slowly moving carousels, or play with a giant roly-poly mushroom collage. The second part of the exhibition at CC is based on Höller’s infamous Killing Children series from the early 1990s that plays on and juxtaposes the human need for having children on one side and, on the other, the traumatising experience of viewing the world through a child’s eyes.
In Behaviour, at Kunsten, Höller explores alternative ways of perceiving our surroundings and especially our ways of looking at art. The exhibition presents works that disrupt, transform or alter, in the broadest possible sense, our experiences with art, including works that involve light, sound, smells, mirrors, and gigantic fly agaric mushrooms. There will also be an opportunity to stay overnight in the museum on Revolving Hotel Room, a large rotating bed, or to wear Upside-Down Goggles which turn the vision of the wearer upside down, thus showing the ‘real world’ as depicted on the retina.
Behaviour runs from 26 September 2019 to 23 February 2020 at Kunsten in Aalborg. Reproduction runs from 28 September 2019 to 23 February 2020 at Copenhagen Contemporary in Copenhagen.
Many of Höller’s works invite the viewer to participate and interact with the works while providing opportunities to examine human behaviour, ideas and logic. Höller is concerned with what makes us the people we are, both physically and mentally. Inspired by the history of scientific research, his works create situations that alter and challenge our mental and sensory perceptions. He provokes uncertainty in the viewer – a sense of disorientation and fundamental doubt.
Download press photographs here: https://we.tl/t-RNw7NMyvJh and https://copenhagencontemporary.org/en/press/