Carsten Höller at Hayward Gallery

Carsten Höller: Decision 
at The Hayward Gallery
Open Now
Until 6th September 2015
The last exhibition at The Hayward Gallery, before it and the neighbouring Queen Elizabeth Hall closes for much-needed repairs and refurbishment. is a collection of new and old works by Belgium-born and Sweden-domiciled artist Carsten Höller.

©The London Art File

The exhibition is called Decision and there is a decision to be made even before you enter. Do you take entrance Door A or entrance Door B? I took Door B and was plunged into darkness, going through a long twisting and turning route along a metal tunnel, the floor rising and falling and clanking beneath my feet. This was a disorientating experience, doubtless intentionally so, and after walking into a couple of walls in the dark I was very grateful to emerge into the light of a gallery holding Flying Mushrooms, a huge kinetic mobile of giant red and white fly agaric mushrooms. You can give the work a push to set it in motion – if you decide to, that is. A new work by Höller, Two Roaming Beds (Grey), which is comprised of two robotic beds on wheels, independently roams the gallery in a kind of robotic dance. (The beds are bookable for the night throughout the period of the exhibition, but more on that in a post coming up tomorrow)

©The London Art File

In another gallery room, a huge heap of red and white capsule pills sits in the middle of the floor, every few seconds a new pill falls from the ceiling and adds to the heap. A water fountain next to the pill heap, silently invites the visitor to make another decision. To take a pill or not? If they hadn’t been lying on the floor I might have been tempted.

©The London Art File

Upstairs, a giant dice sit in the middle of the room, the spots on the dice are in fact holes and if you are small and bendy enough you can climb into the hollow centre. Also on this floor is a corridor of television screens showing identical twins on opposite sides saying “I say the opposite of what you say” in lots of different languages. And up here too is the exit onto the roof terrace of the Hayward where visitors can choose to be strapped into Two Flying Machines, a hang glider ride that sends the suspended person on a rotation over the roof with a great view of the river and Waterloo Bridge.

©The London Art File

On the way towards the final decision of the exhibition, visitors can try out one of Höller’s earlier works The Pinocchio Effect (1994) which involves using a weird bicep vibrator to supposedly give the sensation that one’s nose is growing. I couldn’t get this to work at all and neither could others who were trying at the same time.
©The London Art File
Your final decision is how you leave the exhibition, you can leave perfectly normally through a door (and the gift shop, natch) or you can take Höller’s Isometric Slides (newly-commissioned versions of the slides that were in the Tate’s Turbine Hall in 2007). Top tip: to be allowed to use the slides remember to leave your bags in the lockers at the entrance or you, like me, will be leaving somewhat mundanely through the exit door.
Exhibition on until 6th September 2015
Admission: (inc. Gift Aid)
Supporter Standard  £15.00
Supporter Seniors 60+  £13.00
Supporter Students/universal credit/pension credit £11.00
Supporter Young People 12 – 18 £10.00
Under 12s  Free
Southbank Centre Members Free
Supporter Circles Free
Visitor information and tickets:
Opening times:
Monday 12 noon – 6pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 11am – 7pm
Thursday and Friday 11am – 8pm

Map of hayward gallery

Hayward Gallery,
Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

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