A CARSTEN HÖLLER PROJECT BY FONDAZIONE PRADA
MIAMI, 5 – 7 DECEMBER 2017
Let’s explore the best of two worlds, brought together in two adjacent locations, without any concession to fusion, a kind of schizophrenic wonderland (if only “schizophrenia” could be positively used to describe the double sidedness which is at the heart of beauty).- Baldo Hauser
Presented by Fondazione Prada, “The Prada Double Club Miami” by Carsten Höller is an art installation to be experienced as a fully-functioning nightclub. Open to select guests for three nights, it takes place from 5 to 7 December 2017 (from 10.30 pm till late), on the occasion of Art Basel Miami Beach.
“The Prada Double Club Miami” offers a unique approach to entertainment and hospitality, as well as creating a dialogue between contemporary art, music, lifestyle, and design. This is the second, yet very different, iteration of Carsten Höller’s acclaimed concept which first debuted in London in 2008 for eight months.
The previous “Double Club” in London, set up as a secluded “guerrilla” venue, was conceived as a living artwork to be as challenging and enjoyable. Consisting of three spaces—a bar, a restaurant and a disco—each one of them equally divided into Western and Congolese parts, the club provided the ground for the construction of an entirely new experience, generated by division. Both cultures were iconically represented by musical, culinary, and aesthetic details: the electric energy of Congo on one side, and recognizable elements of Western culture on the other.
In this new project, the artist further investigates the notion of two-sidedness: the audience is presented with two different spaces which offer visually and acoustically opposed experiences, with no concession to fusion. The vital and most important aim of “The Prada Double Club Miami” is to allow art to move outside its usual restrictive contexts—transforming it into a real life experience. Conceived as a human experiment exploring the idea of duality in a playful environment, it creates an unsettling atmosphere from which a powerful, thought-provoking dialogue can emerge. The club is a physical embodiment of what an art installation can become: crowds are free to engage with the surrounding environment on multiple levels, all equally compelling and authentic, and become living components of a participatory experience.
Set in a 1920’s film studio complex, formerly an ice factory, the installation is divided into an internal club space and an outdoor tropical garden, one being entirely monochromatic, the other hyper-polychromatic.
“I want guests to feel like they are the only element of color in the monochromatic side that has only greys, blacks and whites, as if a foreign element in a black and white movie – and to feel pale in the hyper-polychromatic other side, where the tropics hit a bit too hard,” explains Carsten Höller.
International live music acts and DJs are showcased in one space, whereas the other hosts a range of Caribbean and South American diasporas from Miami. Each performer embodies the oppositional concept behind the project itself: guests and clubbers can cross a permeable boundaries to venture into a double dimension and “schizophrenic” journey.
Carsten Höller creates participatory installations and sculptures intended to create—with a playful approach—particular states of mind: excitement and alteration, doubt and confusion. By experimenting with unusual psychological and perceptive reactions from the viewers, the artist analyzes the nature of human emotions. He applies his training as a scientist to his work as an artist, concentrating particularly on the nature of human relationships. Major installations and exhibitions include Test Site (2006), a series of giant slides installed in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall; Amusement Park (2006), a large installation at MASS MoCA of full-sized carnival midway rides operating at dramatically slowed speeds; The Double Club (2008–09), a work designed to create a dialogue between Congolese and Western culture in the form of a London bar, restaurant, and nightclub; Soma, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2010); Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (2011); Experience, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2011); LEBEN, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2014); Golden Mirror Carousel, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2014–15); 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015); Decision, Hayward Gallery, London (2015); Doubt, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2016); and
Video Retrospective with Two Light Machines, Mu.ZEE, Ostend (2017); Heine Onstad Sanatorium, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2017); Y, Centro Botín, Santander (2017); and Upside–Down Goggles (1994 – ongoing), an ongoing participatory experiment with vision distortion through goggles. Höller’s Revolving Hotel Room, a rotating installation which became a fully operational hotel room by night, was featured in the Guggenheim’s “theanyspacewhatever” exhibition (2008–09).
Carsten Höller was born in 1961 in Brussels, Belgium to German parents. Höller currently lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden, and Biriwa, Ghana.
“The Double Club”, London (2008-2009)
“The Double Club” is a Carsten Höller art project commissioned by Fondazione Prada. Located in an old Victorian warehouse just beside the Angel tube station in London, “The Double Club” opened on November 21, 2008 and closed on July 12, 2009, creating a dialogue between Congolese and Western cultures. It was not only a vibrant new public space in London but also an alliance of two cultures in real life that facilitated crosspollination. “The Double Club” consisted of three spaces: Bar, Restaurant and Disco. Each space was divided into equally sized Western and Congolese parts on a decorative and functional level, generating an inspiring perspective on double identity as well as a place for cultural coexistence. The different sections were conceived and designed to represent the most challenging elements of both cultures, encompassing music, food, and visual aesthetics.
“The Prada Double Club Miami” a project by Carsten Höller. Courtesy of the artist and Fondazione Prada