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Light Wall (2000)

Carsten Höller

Light Wall, by the German artist Carsten Höller, was originally conceived for the exhibition 'Synchro System' at the Prada Foundation in Milan. The exhibition title refers to the artist's desire to create a synchronicity between the audience and the exhibited objects. The exhibition consisted of several large installations and objects, three of which suggested a form of experimental circuit. Entering the main space of the gallery, the visitor was confronted with the Light Wall, a large installation that incorporated more than a thousand light bulbs going on and off in a precise rhythm, producing a tranquil, hallucinatory effect. The idea of synchronisation is most obvious in this piece: our brain activity synchronises with the frequency of the blinking lights, thus generating phenomena such as colour vision and trace-like states of mind. The party though the exhibition continued with a completely dark passage approximately the metres long, a transit into a different sphere, directing the visitors into the bright Upside Down Mushroom Room, in which, as the title of the piece suggests, everything was upside down and, moreover, out of scale, with huge mushrooms, up to three metres tall, rotating on the ceiling. As the German psychologist Baldo Hauser said about the artist, 'Höller produces a very peculiar state of mind, something near to a loss of orientation, a kind of perplexity of not knowing what to do, a reduced ability to manoeuvre while, at the same time, experiencing joyful, happy, self-sufficient, purified and introspective feelings.'

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