Carsten Höller’s slides: A fun way to experience museums

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Carsten Höller - Test Site, 2007, New Museum, New York - Exhibition Experience, 2011
Carsten HöllerTest Site, 2007, New Museum, New York – Exhibition: Experience, 2011
Photo: Benoit Pailley

Published on: Thursday August 17, 2017

Last updated

Carsten Höller & his work

Carsten Höller is well known for playfully including his slide installations in major museums across the world. Höller, who is formerly a scientist with a degree in agronomy, is famous for repurposing components of the real world, such as slides, for art spaces. The majority of his works feature aesthetics that are relational, meaning that the projects created are inspired by the relationship that people have with their social contexts. The end result of Höller’s incredible work is an experience that resembles part playground and part lab, which is a crowd pleaser.

Höller’s slides: Playful and dissident

Höller stages quasi-scientific experiments that affect the audience’s state of perception; his slides cause participants to question their relationship with ordinary things that surround them, with other people around them and with themselves. As such, all of the slides are both playful and dissident, creating an experience which is enjoyable and unnerving.

Video: Carsten Höller introduces ‘Left/Right Slide’

5min 34sec

Transforming museums into anarchic and utopian environments

By opening up places that were traditionally considered to be serious, Carsten Höller creates an anarchic and utopian environment that enables people to relate to each other and the art situated in the gallery freely. Because of the fascinating slides, people are reborn and are able to create new human relations in a space that suspends social order. Undoubtedly, the experience of sliding down the humongous pieces of art is exhilarating in itself; however, audiences do not have to grasp the significance of the slides by sliding down them.

Conclusion

His body of work is popular with audiences and attracts large groups from different parts of the world. Visitors seem to delight in his artworks because it allows them to experience art that can be looked at and touched. The works created are all-encompassing, meaning that it is also possible to experience the pieces through other attendees. Alternatively, the pieces can also be enjoyed through contemplation or from an outsider’s view.

Höller’s slides

Bonn Slide, 2018, Bonn

Carsten Höller - Bonn Slide, 2018, 35m, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn
Carsten Höller – Bonn Slide, 2018, 35m, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn
Photo: Laurin Schmid/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017/Bundeskunsthalle

The Florence Experiment, 2018, Florence

Carsten Höller - Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Carsten Höller – Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Photo: thebigbubblemiami.com

Carsten Höller - Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Carsten Höller – Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Photo: worldredeye.com

Carsten Höller - Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Carsten Höller – Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Photo: worldredeye.com

Carsten Höller - Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Carsten Höller – Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, 28m (93 ft), Miami
Photo: worldredeye.com

Aventura Slide Tower, 2018, Miami

Carsten Höller - The Florence Experiment, 2018, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Carsten Höller – The Florence Experiment, 2018, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Photo: Martino Margheri

Carsten Höller - The Florence Experiment, 2018, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Carsten Höller – The Florence Experiment, 2018, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Photo: Martino Margheri

The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016, London

Carsten Höller - The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016 London
Carsten HöllerThe Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
Photo: ArcelorMittal Orbit/scoutmagazine.ca

Carsten Höller - The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016 London
Carsten HöllerThe Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

Carsten Höller - The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016 London
Carsten HöllerThe Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

Carsten Höller - The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016 London
Carsten HöllerThe Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, 2016, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London

Carsten Höller - Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London
Carsten HöllerIsomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London

Carsten Höller - Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London 2
Carsten HöllerIsomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London

Carsten Höller - Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London 3
Carsten HöllerIsomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London

Carsten Höller - Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London 4
Carsten HöllerIsomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London

Carsten Höller - Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London
Carsten HöllerIsomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London
Photo: David Levene

Carsten Höller - Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London
Carsten HöllerIsomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London

Carsten Höller - Isomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London
Carsten HöllerIsomeric Slides, 2015, Hayward Gallery, London

Vitra Slide Tower, 2014, Weil am Rhein, Germany

Carsten Höller - Vitra Slide Tower, Weil am Rhein, Germany, photo Wladyslaw Sojka
Carsten HöllerVitra Slide Tower, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Photo: Wladyslaw Sojka/archdaily.com


Carsten HöllerVitra Slide Tower, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Photo: Wladyslaw Sojka/archdaily.com

Carsten Höller - Vitra Slide Tower, Weil am Rhein, Germany, photo Wladyslaw Sojka
Carsten HöllerVitra Slide Tower, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Photo: Wladyslaw Sojka/archdaily.com

Left/Right Slide, 2010, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Carsten Höller - Left/Right Slide 2010, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, photo Natasha Harth
Carsten HöllerLeft/Right Slide, 2010, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
Photo: Natasha Harth/qagoma.qld.gov.au

Carsten Höller - Left:Right Slide 2010, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, photo Natasha Harth 2
Carsten HöllerLeft/Right Slide, 2010, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
Photo: Natasha Harth/qagoma.qld.gov.au

Carsten Höller - Left:Right Slide 2010, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
Carsten HöllerLeft/Right Slide, 2010, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
Photo: Nic MacBean/abc.net.au

Carsten Höller - Left:Right Slide 2010, Stainless steel, polycarbonate and rubber mats, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
Carsten HöllerLeft/Right Slide, 2010, Stainless steel, polycarbonate and rubber mat, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia

Double Slide, 2009, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb

Carsten Höller - Double Slide, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia, photo Myriam Thyes
Carsten HöllerDouble Slide, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia
Photo: Myriam Thyes/wikimedia.org

Carsten Höller - Double Slide, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, photo JasonParis
Carsten HöllerDouble Slide, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia
Photo: JasonParis/wikimedia.org

Test Site, 2007, New Museum, New York

Carsten Höller - Test Site, 2007, New Museum, New York - Exhibition Experience, 2011
Carsten HöllerTest Site, 2007, New Museum, New York – Exhibition: Experience, 2011
Photo: Benoit Pailley

Carsten Höller - Test Site, 2007, New Museum, New York - Exhibition Experience, 2011 1
Carsten HöllerTest Site, 2007, New Museum, New York – Exhibition: Experience, 2011

Test Site, 2006, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern

Carsten Höller – Test Site, 2006, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Carsten HöllerTest Site, 2006, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London

Carsten Höller - Test Site, 2006, Installation view (Unilever Series - Carsten Höller, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London 2006), dimension variable
Carsten HöllerTest Site, 2006, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: The Lud/wikimedia.org

Carsten Höller - Test Site, 2006, Tate
Carsten HöllerTest Site, 2006, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London

Slide at Prada, 2000, The Milan headquarters

Carsten Höller - slide at Prada, The Milan headquarters, Italy, Miuccia Prada's office with entrance to slide
Carsten Höller – slide at Prada, The Milan headquarters, Italy, Miuccia Prada’s office with entrance to slide

Carsten Höller - slide at Prada, The Milan headquarters, Italy, starting in Miuccia Prada’s office
Carsten Höller – slide at Prada, The Milan headquarters, Italy, starting in Miuccia Prada’s office

Slide, 1998, Berlin Biennale

Carsten Höller - Valerio II, Kunst-Werke, first Berlin Biennale, 1998
Valerio II, one of Carsten Höller’s two first slide works at the first Berlin Biennale, 1998, installed at KW Kunst-Werke

Carsten Höller - slide at the first Berlin Biennale, 1998
One of Carsten Höller’s two first slide works at the first Berlin Biennale, 1998
Photo: Berlin Biennale

Videos

Slide at The New Museum

29sec

Isomeric Slides time lapse at Southbank Centre

20sec

Riding Isomeric Slides at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

43sec

Vitra Slide Tower

1min 24sec

Carsten Höller speaks at the NGV Melbourne

54min 55sec

All images: Carsten Höller/galleriacontinua.com unless otherwise noted.

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