October 8, 2019 - Copenhagen Contemporary - Carsten Höller: Reproduction
October 8, 2019

Copenhagen Contemporary

[1] Carsten Höller, Gartenkinder 2014/2019. Photo: Attilio Maranzano. Installation view Copenhagen Contemporary, Reproduction, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian.  [2] Carsten Höller, Killing Children 1990-2019. Photo: Attilio Maranzano. Installation view Copenhagen Contemporary, Reproduction, 2019. Courtesy the artist. 

Carsten Höller
September 28, 2019–April 13, 2020

Copenhagen Contemporary
Refshalevej 173A
1432 Copenhagen
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11am–6pm,
Thursday 11am–9pm

T +45 29 89 72 88

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What is love? What makes us who we are? Why do we have children? Is art a playground? What games are we playing? These are some of the questions that Carsten Höller's major new solo exhibition Reproduction at Copenhagen Contemporary (CC) pose to visitors who become experimental subjects in the world of the artist renowned worldwide for his immersive installations.

Carsten Höller holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences and worked as a scientist for several years before becoming an artist. His artworks incorporate elements from playgrounds, zoos, and amusement parks, often presented in a pseudo-scientific environment to give the impression of research. This is evident at CC where carrousels, giant mushrooms, smells, flickering lights and moving mirrors are shown and made accessible to the guests, who will become experimental subjects in the first solo exhibition by Höller in Denmark. Carsten Höller firmly believes in the transformative potential of art which, transgressing normal conventions and awareness, allows us to see the world, and our behavioural patterns and objects, in a new way.

In the exhibition at CC, Höller examines the theme of "reproduction," adopting an approach that is both scientific and artistic. Reproduction starts with cell division in all life forms, and it is precisely the principle of division that underpins his immersive installation in CC’s large Hall 1, entitled Gartenkinder. Höller presents a large diorama where the walls and the floor are covered with red, blue, yellow, and green carpets divided in successive steps of diminishing colour intensity. Here visitors are invited to crawl through holes into a die, sit on slow-moving carousels, play with a giant roly-poly mushroom sculpture, or throw a ball the shape of which makes it impossible to calculate its trajectory.

Höller's artworks often require the audience to complete them through interaction. They have the nature of an experiment but contain moments of deception that distort our expectations. So rather than turning around quickly to entertain the user, the carousel turns slowly, almost imperceptibly, the user becoming the unexpected spectacle.

The senses of the visitors are also tested when going through Six Sliding Doors, a corridor of mirrors that leads to the second part of the exhibition, where Höller’s infamous Killing Children series from the early 1990s is presented. Here, the audience is not directly involved. A podium presents a series of traps intended to catch and kill children. This provocative scene both repels and amuses at the same time, evoking memories of the dreaded joy it was as a child to hear eerie fairy tales.

This installation questions the desire for having children while simultaneously connecting to an early experience we all went through: the awakening of consciousness and one’s own existence at an early age followed by the disturbing challenge to position oneself in this world. It also reflects on how behaviour is encoded from childhood through regulation. Höller left the world of science in favour of art because of his interest in doubt rather than certainty, using his practice as a spectrum for experimentation rather than a source of conclusions. The exhibition Reproduction provides ample opportunity to consider what constitutes us as human beings.

About Carsten Höller:
Carsten Höller was born in 1961 and lives and works in Stockholm and Biriwa, Ghana. Many of Höller’s works invite the viewer to participate and interact, providing opportunities to examine human behaviour, ideas and logic. Höller is concerned with what makes us the people we are, both physically and mentally. Inspired by the history of scientific research, his works create situations that alter and challenge our mental and sensory perceptions. He provokes uncertainty in the viewer—a sense of disorientation and fundamental doubt. His major solo exhibitions include: Bonn Slide, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (2018); Aventura Slide Tower, Aventura Mall, Aventura, Florida (2018); Y, Centro Botín, Santander (2017); Henie Onstad Sanatorium, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden (2017); 56th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2015); 53rd Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2009); Experience, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2011); Double Slide, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2009); Test Site, Tate Modern, London (2006); 51st Venice Biennale (2005); 50th Venice Biennale (2003).

Practical information:
Reproduction runs from September 28, 2019 to April 13, 2020 at Copenhagen Contemporary in Copenhagen. 

Reproduction is born of an unusual partnership with Kunsten in Aalborg, which presents a parallel solo exhibition by Carsten Höller. The double exhibition will provide the audience with a unique opportunity to see a broad selection of works from throughout the artist’s career – from some of his very earliest works to new site-specific installations—and represent his first exhibitions in Denmark.

Press kit and images are available for download from the CC website

For more information about Carsten Höller’s Reproduction please contact:

Marie Nipper, CC’s Director
T: +45 6122 3839
E: marie [​at​] cphco.org

Jannie Haagemann, Head of Exhibitions and Senior Curator
T: +45 3146 3003
E: jannie [​at​] cphco.org

Ida Maj Ludvigsen, Head of PR and Communication
T: +45 6021 9321
E: ida [​at​] cphco.org

Copenhagen Contemporary
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