24 June to 10 September 2017

Centro Botín, Santander


Curators: Vicente Todolí (President of the Visual Arts Advisory Committee at Fundación Botín) y Udo Kittelmann (Director of the NationalGalerie Berlín).

Centro Botín presents the first large-scale monographic exhibition of Carsten Höller (Brussels, 1961) to ever take place in Spain. The exhibition offers a perspective on the last decade of this internationally acclaimed Belgian artist’s work known for his continued investigation of the spectator’s experience, and how s/he completes the work by engaging with it.

Fourteen works, a majority of which have been produced for this exhibition, will be presented on the second floor of the new Renzo Piano-designed building.

The selection includes such iconic pieces as Y (2003) and Elevator Bed (2010), in which visitors will be able to spend the night, as well as High Psychotank (2015), in which the visitor will literally be able to immerse themslves.

The choice of Carsten Höller to inaugurate the new Renzo Piano-designed Centro Botín was informed by the foundation’s interest in the notion of art as an experience that results from the active engagement of the visitor with the work of art. Höller’s work calls for a more voluntary approach to the work of art, and thought of as a means to becoming more aware and alert, perhaps in order to take a more critical approach to reality as a complex construct.

Y, 2003

960 25-watt incandescent light bulbs, DMX lighting control system, aluminum, illuminated signs at both exits, cables, wood, steel, mirrors

Collection of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna


Photo credit: Attilio Maranzano



Carsten Höller was trained as a scientist and holds a doctorate in agricultural science, specialising in the area of insects’ olfactory communication strategies. In the first stages of his artistic career – until 1994 – he continued to work as a research entomologist. A key protagonist of a generation of artists whose research is grounded in what is sometimes referred to as “relational aesthetics”, Höller elaborates his work as interfaces to trigger an experience: while their sculptural quality is undeniable, it is the way the visitors engage with his objects that finishes the work. Höller has investigated among others things the effect of light waves, absorption of chemicals on his brain activity, and the consequences of his public´s perception of the world that surrounds them.

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