Carsten Höller Arrives at the Tamayo Museum

Slides, carousels, giant perspective-altering fungi, light tunnels, and mirror labyrinths… does more fun exist?

10 Jul 2019

Beginning March 29, the Tamayo Museum will encompass the work of Carsten Höller. The exhibit Sunday is the Belgian artist’s first show in Mexico, which is said will be quite extraordinary. Although it is not known with precision what pieces will arrive, Carsten Höller’s exhibitions usually include many elements of theme parks and confusion. It is something quite unusual. In the exhibition rooms, you can find carousels, slides, giant perspective-altering mushrooms, light tunnels, and mirror labyrinths.

carsten holler in mexico

In the 90s, Höller was already beginning to resonate as one of the most important names in the art scene, but only after having studied agronomy and devoting his time to entomology (the study of insects). Perhaps this is why he has always treated his work as experiments, museums as make-shift laboratories, and the viewing public as possible guinea pigs.

Among his most famous works is the Golden Mirror Carousel Installation: a carousel with seats that turn very slowly in opposite directions, creating a confusing and strange environment. High Psycho Tank is a massive tank that contains 264 gallons of water. It is regulated at 95.9 degrees Fahrenheit and includes 1,322 pounds of diluted Epsom salts. Inside this container, visitors can float for 15 minutes and live a weightless and relaxing experience. And of course, there is the installation of amanita-muscaria mushrooms, a very toxic and hallucinatory species, which makes it feel as if the room has been turned upside down.

carsten holler in mexico

Giant Psycho Tank

Carsten Höller constantly questions the importance of the notion of space and form. That’s why his exhibitions are never the same, because every museum or gallery has its own spatial needs. Sometimes he creates in-situ installations, such as the longest closed slide in the world (178 meters, with 12 bends) within the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower, which was installed in collaboration with Anish Kapoor.

carsten holler in mexico

Golden Mirror Carousel Installation

Sunday seeks to question the conventions of the Tamayo Museum — as a building and as a museum — leaving the visitor to determine their route through the exhibition and through the space itself. The only compass is your own  intuition. This brings together issues that are fundamental in their workings: decision making and perception.

At this exhibit, “the visitor is responsible for the experience he or she has when visiting the museum.” The new show at the Tamayo sounds like freshness, freedom, and playfulness. Don’t miss it.


Translated by Evan Upchurch
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