Carsten Höller’s Light Wall consists of a metal structure holding 1100 lightbulbs which are simultaneously blinking at a frequency of 7,8 hz. This rhythm has a visual (and auditory) hallucinatory effect on the viewer, as it presumably influences brainwave frequencies in the visitors exposed to the powerful On and Off of the lights (there is a sound element too: a stereo click at the same frequency). Created as an original outdoor piece for Noor Riyadh 2021, the work sends its light pulses towards the audience and surrounding buildings in Riyadh. It puts into question the reliability of what is perceived as given, which is foremost the constancy of both natural and artificial light. At the same time, it produces beautiful, dreamlike “colour field” hallucinations, especially with closed eyes. One’s own thoughts, spoken words, and behavior in general are influenced by the flickering lights and clicking sounds, with the result that not only the perceived but also its interpretation is different.
This artwork contains flashing lights. It may cause discomfort and trigger seizures particularly for people with photosensitive epilepsy.
King Abdulaziz Historical Center
Carsten Höller (b. 1961) uses his training as a scientist in his work as an artist, concentrating particularly on the perception of the self and the nature of human relationships. His major installations include Sunday at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City (2019); Decision, Hayward Gallery, London (2015); The Double Club in London (2008-2009); Revolving Hotel Room (2008), which was shown as part of theanyspacewhatever exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 2009; and Test Site, Tate Modern, Turbine Hall, London (2006).
His works have been shown internationally over the last two decades, including solo exhibitions at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2016); Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2014); Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2011); New Museum, New York (2011); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2010); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2008), Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille (2004); the ICA Boston (2003); and Fondazione Prada, Milan (2000).
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