Carsten Höller: Decision (London) – London, UK

2015 – Completed

Carsten Höller : Decision at the Hayward Gallery in London was the largest exhibition of the artist’s work staged in the UK. Delvendahl Martin were responsible for the overall exhibition design, and collaborated with Höller on the first installation in the exhibition, entitled ‘Decision Corridors’, that took visitors on different meandering routes through the first gallery. Designed as a series of dark and confined spaces, the passageways repeatedly turn and change levels with the aim to disorientate and confuse anyone entering the installation. 

In order to enhance the desired, almost claustrophobic experience and to allow sound to travel as freely as possible, galvanized sheet metal was chosen as the sole construction material for the corridors. Adapting the techniques normally used for forming air handling ductwork allowed the creation of human sized galvanised steel segments with minimal use of material. The thin sheet metal and the geometry of the spaces help to amplify noise and create multiple echoes in the process, making it difficult to locate the origin of sound. In conjunction with the darkness inside the corridors, this acoustic characteristic contributed to a diffused perception of the surroundings and fellow visitors, as well as a heightened sense of disorientation. 

Aesthetically, the silver galvanized structure appeared like a gigantic version of a service infrastructure normally hidden behind false ceilings or confined to service risers. At the same time it provided a conceptual link to the artists’ ‘Isomeric Slides’ at the end of the exhibition, whilst forming a strong contrast against the backdrop of the brutalist concrete architecture of the building.

In addition to the collaboration on the ‘Decision Corridors’, we were also responsible for the design and coordination of the final installation of the show, ‘Isomeric Slides’, a double helical slide attached to the outside of the Hayward Gallery with a temporary staircase tower penetrating the gallery roof. The exhibition proved to be a great success and the slides in particular captured the public imagination. This was the final exhibition at the Hayward prior to it’s two year closure for refurbishment.

Project Team
Stephanie Thum-Bonanno

Ductwork Contractor
Highline

Scaffolding Contractor
Vantage Event Structures

Exhibition Build
Sam Forster Ltd.

 

Curatorial Team
Ralph Rugoff
Dina Ibrahim
Rahila Haque
Charlotte Baker