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Carsten Höller - Divided Divided

from February 6 2010 until April 25 2010

Carsten Höller Triple Giant Mushrooms, 2010 Courtesy of: Gagosian Gallery, Londen/London Carsten Höller portrait

In the museum’s largest gallery, with more than 1,500 m2 of floor space, he has applied a simple arithmetical formula that repeatedly divides the space and the objects in it into two, creating an entity that heightens the visitor’s experience: Divided Divided sharpens all the senses.

Carsten Holler (born 1961) specializes in carefully conceived experiments that play with the physical experience and the messages transmitted to the brain. In the floating room, for instance, the subtly moving walls upset your sense of balance. The division formula is used in this Swinging Spiral too, but in a spiral form. It looks like a snail’s shell, but it is a room where you can walk and test your equilibrium. The Flicker Films are another example of this sort of experiment. Almost identical successive images of African dance groups are projected side by side. The brain fills in the rest of the images and creates a moving picture in the viewer’s head.

Are those real mushrooms growing from the museum floor? Where Höller is involved, you can never be entirely sure. His background as a biologist is evident in the extraordinarily true to life replicas. They are compound mushrooms: half is a fly agaric (the familiar red ones with white spots); the other two fourths are different varieties. These Triple Giant Mushrooms vary in size from more than life-size to around one metre above the floor.

Birds singing in the museum? Seven canaries can be seen and heard in a huge mobile composed of seven birdcages. Höller has often worked with birds in his art in the past. He has also made a new series of extraordinarily detailed paintings of birds.

A rotating hotel room in the museum? During the Divided Divided exhibition anyone can spend an exclusive night in the museum. If you book a night in Carsten Höller’s Revolving Hotel Room, this slowly rotating room in the centre of the museum will enable you to wander around the museum day and night—accompanied, of course, by a personal butler. As you would expect, luxury facilities are included, such as room service, a well-stocked minibar, bathroom and toilet to ensure your comfortable stay in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Rates vary from €275 to €450 per night (for two people, including dinner and breakfast). This exclusive room is already booked up for the entire period.

Art Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen organised in Febran online auction for the last night available. This was a great success: the highest bid was €2010!

Would you like to learn more about the diverse interests of the artist? Please visit the World of Carsten Höller at our Kunst Studio in the entrance area of the museum.

Check ArtTube for the new video: Carsten Höller and Ranti Tjan on happiness and perception.


Carsten Höller has built up an outstanding reputation in the Netherlands and abroad. He gained international fame in 2006 when he exhibited a series of slides (Test Site) in the cavernous Turbine Hall in Tate Modern. His work has been exhibited internationally for the last twenty years, including solo exhibitions in the Fondazione Prada, Milan (2000), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2006) and the Kunsthaus in Bregenz, Austria (2008). He has exhibited in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen before—showing his installation Light Corner in 2002. Carsten Höller lives and works in Stockholm.


Publishers Hatje Cantz (Berlin) are bringing out an extensive overview of Carsten Höller’s work which will include the Divided Divided exhibition in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This lavishly illustrated publication will be published in May-June, and will also be available in the museum shop. The museum shop also currently has a range of catalogues and publications about this artist and his work.

The exhibition is part of the official programme of Holland Art Cities 2009-2010 and has been made possible in part by the Goethe Institute Rotterdam, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), Bilderberg Parkhotel Rotterdam and Sikkens.