Visitors to Carsten Höller: Decision enter through the artist’s Decision Corridors, a work that Höller hopes will function ‘like a lock for ships in a canal: a space where you go from one level to another, a situation where you make an adjustment.’ Made of galvanised steel, these disorientating corridors reverberate with the sound of visitors’ footsteps.
Höller’s Decision Corridors bring about a curious psychological state: although they are not lost, as visitors follow their various twists and turns they cannot be sure where they will emerge. As Höller says in a conversation with Hayward Gallery director Ralph Rugoff: ‘With Decision Corridors, as with many of the works in the show, I’m trying to create a situation of not knowing in order to extrapolate from this uncertainty, so to speak, and also to bring out its beauty, its power, its wisdom even.’
Image credit: Carsten Höller, Decision Corridors, 2015. © Carsten Höller. Produced with HangarBicocca, Milano. Installation view: Carsten Höller: Decision, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015. Photo © David Levene
Two Roaming Beds (Grey)
In Carsten Höller: Decision two robotic twin beds roam the exhibition, circling and mirroring one another in a peculiar, mechanical ballet. These roaming beds make their way around the gallery using a range of navigational systems. While a laser on the front of each of the beds sweeps the floor, searching for obstacles as it moves, radio beacons set in the gallery’s ceiling help the beds determine their relationship to one another and their position within the gallery.
Although Höller’s twin beds appear to move in tandem, one bed in fact controls the movement of the other. This relationship is reversed each time that the bed that is currently in control – or leading their ‘dance’ – encounters an obstacle in the gallery.
Each night during the exhibition, Höller’s Two Roaming Beds (Grey) are occupied by members of the public who, before falling asleep, are invited to use dream-enhancing toothpaste. This toothpaste gives users the ability to both direct their dreams and recall them more clearly.
Image credit: Carsten Höller, Two Roaming Beds (Grey), 2015. © Carsten Höller. Produced with Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, and HangarBicocca, Milano. Installation view: Carsten Höller: Decision, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015. Photo © David Levene
Carsten Höller compares his Isomeric Slides to an abstract painting – ‘a few lines, a few circles, a few movements in space’. To the artist, the slides’ spiralling forms introduce a ‘moment of playfulness’ to the gallery’s brutalist architecture. They also provide visitors with a dramatic exit to Carsten Höller: Decision and the opportunity to experience a moment of ‘delight and madness’.
Höller made his first slide in 1998 for the Kunst-Werke Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin. Since then, the artist has installed slides in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern (for his exhibition entitled Test Site, in 2006) and in 2014 unveiled his first free-standing slide at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Each of Höller’s slides can be seen as a model for an architectural intervention on a much larger scale. ‘Slides could be everywhere’, Höller argues, used as a mode of transport both ‘in and between buildings.’
Image credit: Carsten Höller, Isomeric Slides, 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation view: Carsten Höller: Decision, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015. Courtesy the artist and LUMA Foundation, Arles. Photo © David Levene.