Carsten Höller: Doubt (Milan) – Milan, Italy

2016 – Built

Delvendahl Martin Architects collaborated with the artist Carsten Höller to create a series of site-specific installations for his exhibition 'Doubt' at the Pirelli HangarBiccoca in Milan.

‘Doubt’ unfolds along twinned, parallel paths that foreground the potential which lies in the moment of decision making, thus demanding sensory participation and perceptual focus from its viewer, it is up to the visitor to choose how they approach and experience the exhibition, as they are in control of the path they choose to take. The show opens up to the public with ‘Y’ (2003), immediately raising the concept of doubt as it asks the user to walk through a structure with numerous flashing lightbulbs and making them choose between a green or yellow lit path, this decision is what shapes one’s ‘doubt’ and determines both the shape of the exhibition, and the visitors experience. As Carsten says, ‘you might have the feeling that you are missing out on something because there is always another possibility, or there is always another way to do it.’  

The exhibition also revisits the ‘Decision Corridors’ (2015) first seen at The Hayward, and on which we also collaborated: the Decision Corridors are two mirror-image steel structures, set at different levels, which lead you along a dark, maze-like path, where you can potentially lose your sense of orientation and time. These completely dark passages generate different feelings, resulting in some visitors to turning on their cellphone lights to guide their way; this fear of not knowing where they’re going or what they will be facing, ultimately generates more doubt within them. 

Once the visitor exits the metal corridors, the vastness of the hangarbicocca opens up with a layout of alternating works that draw on optical experiments designed to trigger different states of mind, like joy, confusion and doubt, sensations that ultimately open the door to new ways of perceiving reality.