‘With’ does not mean ‘And’. If this were not the case, nothing would singularize the two terms. ‘With’ means 1+1 = 2, whereas ‘And’ says 1+ 1 = 1. Putting two things together while retaining their singularities is more paradoxical and unexpected than simply adding them up. So 1+1 = 2 is less common than 1+1=1. The group of works making up Carsten Höller’s exhibition ‘With’, have been made ‘with’: with artist Philippe Parreno, architect François Roche, photographer Attilio Maranzano, perfumer Ben Gorham, model-maker Rigobert Nimi, taxidermist Yves Gaumetou and a pair of unnamed twins. The actual quantity of ‘with’ varies, however, falling within a range including additions to an existing work, authentic collaborations, and straight-out commissions.
At work from the moment the maker was chosen, the duality paradoxes are as evident in the exhibits as in the effects they produce: shifts in perception of reality, alteration of consciousness, generalised doubt, etc. Carousels, coloured animals, dwellings, revamped objects, mood modifiers, micromodifications and twinning: all generators of the uncertainty of which Carsten Höller is currently one of the most effective exponents. His form of doubt is a proposal to go looking for utilitarian logic’s emergency exit, a summons to an expedition searching beyond the burden of the present. Here he avoids presenting works made ‘only by him’ and deemed ready for public display; here he avoids the gesture of the great artist who knows and shows; here ‘with’ means a persistent doubt as to what the artist knows, as to what he is offering by avoiding the singularity of the creator and thus ‘sullying’ the work with more than thought mode.
Artist: Carsten Höller
Exhibition title: AVEC
Venue: Air de Paris, Paris
Date: May 25 – July 13, 2013
Text and images provided by the event.
© Photos by Marc Dommage.