Carsten Höller was born in Belgium to German parents. Before working as an artist, Höller trained as a scientist and gained an advanced degree in agricultural entomology. To Höller, museums and galleries are places of experimentation, offering ‘a space and time where you can try things out that you can’t try otherwise’ as well as the opportunity for ‘large-scale experiments with people’. Some of Höller’s works are based on historic experiments, including those carried out by gestalt psychologists in the early 20th century. Unlike a scientist, however, Höller never collects data. The focus, as well as the ‘working material’, of his varied and interactive artwork is personal experience, which the artist admits is ‘the language of the devil’ to scientists.
Höller has been exhibiting his work internationally since the early 1990s. Over the past two decades his work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including solo shows at Fondazione Prada, Milan (2000), the ICA Boston (2003), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2008), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2010), Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2011), New Museum, New York (2011) and Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary–Augarten, Vienna, Austria (2014). In 2005, he represented Sweden at the 51st Biennale di Venezia (with Miriam Bäckström). In 2006, he presented his slide installation Test Site at the Tate Modern, and in November 2008, his Double Club installation – an art work that was simultaneously a bar, restaurant and dance club – opened for seven months in London. In 2014, Vitra Slide Tower, Höller’s first freestanding slide, was inaugurated at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany.
Carsten Höller currently divides his time between Stockholm, Sweden and Biriwa, Ghana.
Image: Carsten Höller, Pill Clock, 2011/2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation view Carsten Höller: Decision, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Brussels. Produced with Fundación Botin. Photo © Linda Nylind