Soma Series (2) (detail), 2008 Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum with Plexiglas frame
51 3/4 x 55 1/2 inches (131.4 x 141 cm)
Ed. of 3
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition by Carsten Höller, his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles
This exhibition presents several new works intended to trigger the organic responses that underpin the structure of learned behavior, to unbalance the rational mind. A Black Double Sphere (2008) and a Red Double Sphere Hanging (2008) flash on and off at intervals; a series of collaged photographs Soma Series 1-5 (2008), some in focus, others out of register, show a reindeer and a naked woman, reminiscent of Botticelli's Venus, holding the hallucinogenic amanita mushroom; Mushroom Suitcases (2008) contain the same mushrooms, revolving on mechanical stands; and a bright green cast of a baby Reindeer (2008) fixes viewers with its uncannily realistic glass eyes. By resisting any single cohesive meaning, Höller's ensemble functions as a strategy that reveals his ultimate subject matter to be the viewer's experience.
Using his training as a scientist in his work as an artist, Höller's primary concerns relate to the nature of human perception and self-exploration. He has undertaken many projects that invite viewer participation and interaction while questioning human behavior, perception, and logic. His "laboratory of doubt," embodied in objects ranging from carousels and slippery slides to upside-down goggles, often contains playful, hallucinatory or darkly humorous overtones in order to provoke experience and reflection. With his photographic prints of ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, and rollercoasters where the colors have been 'displaced' so as to create images that refuse to register; or his "flicker films" shot from multiple perspectives and projected sequentially to create a sense of movement; or a crop of magic mushrooms hanging upside-down from the ceiling, Höller aims to disorient and by doing so, stimulate precognitive moments of pure sensation.
Carsten Höller was born in Brussels in 1961. His works have been shown internationally over the last two decades, including solo exhibitions at Fondazione Prada, Milan (2000), the ICA Boston (2003), Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille (2004), MASS MoCA, (2006), and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2008). In 2006, he conceived "Test Site" for The Unilever Series at Tate Modern, London, and represented Sweden (with Miriam Bäckström) at the 51st Biennale di Venezia. His work Upside Down Mushroom Room (2000) was shown in 2005 at MOCA in Los Angeles. Recently he opened a bi-cultural restaurant/nightclub The Double Club in London in collaboration with Fondazione Prada for a six-month period. Höller lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden