Mirror Carousel (2005) – Höller’s magical mystery ride
This week we’re celebrating arguably our most unusual and eye-catching art pieces and certainly our most enticing, Carsten Höller’s Mirror Carousel (2005). A fairground carousel spanning seven metres in height and constructed in shiny bright steel with stage-show bulbs and long hanging seats, it’s hard to miss this striking piece in the atrium of The Yellow Building.
With a background in science, Belgian-born artist Höller’s works often centre around the observation of human behaviour as seen through the participatory aspect of many of his most celebrated works. Mirror Carousel is a perfect example of his experimental style, ‘offering a space and time where you can try things you can’t try otherwise’. The carousel is in working order and often turned on for special occasions, Holler explains the overall effect of the mirrored surfaces and lively motion: “(in) 5-minute-a-turn cycles, participants who step up to take a ride are met with a whimsical mix of broken reflections and jarringly slow movement, creating an all-round meditative experience.”
One of Höller’s most well-known exhibitions was Test Site, debuted at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2006. Taking advantage of the height of the space, Hollier masterminded a five working slides for people to use at their leisure with the largest being a colossal 58 metres long.