Artist Carsten Höller’s double-take on Jean Pigozzi’s collection of Japanese and Congolese art, juxtaposed to form JapanCongo, will be presented at Garage Center for Contemporary Culture this summer.
Carsten Höller’s curatorial approach has resulted in the creation of an abstract artwork in its own right. He has chosen 16 Congolese artists (including Pierre Bodo, Chéri Samba, Pathy Tshindele, Jean Depara, Cheik Ledy, and Bodys Isek Kingelez) to be confronted with 47 Japanese artists (including Natsumi Nagao, Nobuyoshi Araki, Akihiro Higuchi, Kazuna Taguchi, Teppei Kaneuji, Hiroki Tsukuda, and Keiichi Tanaami).
The exhibition’s design and installation by Höller positions Japan on one side and Congo on the other in the form of a corridor, highlighting the similarities and differences between the two groups of work. At the narrowest point, the visitor becomes the missing link between the two walls, and the cultural personalities of Japan and Congo draw closer and yet enhance the precision and complexity of Japan versus the art brut style of the Congo.
This architecture of duality generates a coexistence of two cultural identities that is central to Höller’s work. Symmetry and reduplication, lead to the visitors to walk through the central space with pictures and small chambers on either side. However, they can also choose the reverse option, the exhibition’s negative double, and follow a route behind the walls that have been left untreated and visibly makeshift.
JapanCongo has evolved from Höller’s continued exploration of the concept of duality. He divides and re-divides spaces and objects, such as The Giant Triple Mushrooms exhibited at Garage last year. Recently however, his interest in division has been engaged in the explorations of the theme of cultural specificity. In association with Fondazione Prada, he opened The Double Club in London (2008-2009) - the famous bar, restaurant and discotheque, where visitors’ experience of the interiors, music and dining were divided completely into ‘Congolese’ and ‘Western’ parts.
Carsten Höller (b. Brussels, 1961) is a German artist working and living in Stockholm, Sweden. Höller's artistic practice focuses on personal experience, and often involves viewer participation. His intention is to produce a specific, individual or social experience that occurs the moment one comes into contact with the artwork.
His works have been shown internationally over the last two decades, including solo exhibitions at Fondazione Prada, Milan (2000), the ICA Boston (2003), Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille (2004), MASS MoCA, (2006), and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2008). In 2006, he conceived the giant slide installation Test Site at the Turbine Hall in London’s Tate Modern, and represented Sweden (with Miriam Bäckström) at the 51st Biennale di Venezia. Recently he opened the Congolese and Western restaurant, nightclub, disco The Double Club in London in collaboration with Fondazione Prada for a six-month period.
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