Open: Tue-Sat 10.30am-6.30pm

9 rue de Castiglione, 75001, Paris, France
Open: Tue-Sat 10.30am-6.30pm


Carsten Höller: Clocks

Gagosian, rue de Castiglione, Paris

Tue 28 Mar 2023 to Sat 20 May 2023

9 rue de Castiglione, 75001 Carsten Höller: Clocks

Tue-Sat 10.30am-6.30pm

Artist: Carsten Höller

For a long time, I’ve been curious about applying the methodology of art as one way—which I think is equal to science and other powerful explanatory concepts—for us to understand what is surrounding us and what we are.
—Carsten Höller

Gagosian presents Clocks, an exhibition of new and rarely seen earlier works by Carsten Höller. Occupying the gallery at rue de Castiglione and the exterior-facing vitrine at rue de Ponthieu, the exhibition focuses on how the measurement of time impacts human ways of being.

Installation Views

Höller applies scientific procedures to his work as an artist with playful and sometimes dark humor. Many of the projects that comprise his “Laboratory of Doubt”—from twisting slides to vision-flipping goggles—incorporate disorienting experiences to be conducted on oneself.

“I wanted to make the most complicated clock on earth,” says Höller of Half Clock (2021). In this neon sculpture, three encapsulated spheres of curved lighting tubes represent seconds, minutes, and hours. Time is indicated by the division of the surface of each sphere into spatial units, which are themselves divided into consecutively smaller parts. While half of the time is not represented at all—hence the work’s title—the clock’s accuracy increases with each subsequent division of space.

Another neon work, Decimal Clock (2023), also registers time in an unfamiliar manner, applying the decimal system to a numberless illuminated disc composed of twenty blue and orange neon rings, which account for ten decimal “hours,” one hundred decimal “minutes,” and one hundred decimal “seconds.” This calibration reverts to one proposed during the French Revolution, reminding us that the variant to which we are accustomed is a rather clumsy construction.

The darkened glass panels of Black Sliding Window (2023) mark time by opening on the hour, as well as whenever they are approached. Making the behavior of the viewer its subject, the work also enacts an explicit, active connection between chronology, movement, and space.

On view in the vitrine at the rue de Ponthieu gallery is Giant Triple Mushroom (2023), a two-meter-high sculpture in polychrome aluminum. The work’s form combines enlarged cross-sections of three different species of mushroom, including the red-capped fly agaric, reflecting Höller’s fascination with the idea that this notoriously toxic and hallucinogenic fungus may have played a role in the development of shamanism, and thus constitutes a link to ancient proto-religious culture. The three species also represent evolutionary time, as the different shapes, colors, and psychoactive ingredients of their fruiting bodies most certainly evolved from those of a common ancestor. Finally, Giant Triple Mushroom resonates with Höller’s continued exploration of doubling and rupture, and hence to the division and subdivision of time that is visualized in the clock works.

Installation view, Carsten Höller: Clocks at Gagosian, rue de Castiglione, Paris, March 28 - May 20, 2023. Artwork © Carsten Höller. Courtesy Gagosian. Photo: Thomas Lannes

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