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Art & Public Space, Art Projects, Commissions, Commissions & Projects, Sculpture

Enel Contemporanea 2011: Carsten Höller, at MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. 2 December 2011 – 26 February 2012

Enel Contemporanea Award 2011 selected Carsten Höller as the winner of the award for the annual production of an original artwork on the theme of energy. Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes will be on display at the MACRO, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. The public will be able to interact with the two moving merry-go-rounds, as turning slowly and in opposite directions, the merry-go-rounds allow the public to get on and off easily, as if they were enormous mills or grindstones, where the people, sitting on top, come closer together and move further apart in constant rotation. Around the merry-go-rounds, criss-crossing lines – the Zöllner Stripes – create a destabilizing effect, with an illusion of spatial perception creating a slowed-down vision of reality.

“Carsten Höller holds a doctorate in biology, and he uses his training as a scientist in his work as an artist, concentrating particularly on the nature of human relationships. Viewer participation is the key to all of Höller’s sculptures, but it is less an end in itself than a vehicle to informally test the artist’s theories concerning human perception and physiological reactions. Equal parts scientific experiment and sensual encounter, Höller’s works are most frequently devoted to his singular obsession—chemically analyzing the nature of human emotions.”

The previous editions of Enel Contemporanea have presented the works of eight international artists: in 2010 Dutch duo Bik Van der Pol’s Butterfly House inaugurated the new MACRO – Rome Contemporary Art Museum. In 2009 Doug Aitken created an open-air installation on the Tiber Island in Rome. In 2008 Jeffrey Inaba installed a permanent artwork – an eco-sustainable waiting room at the Policlinico Umberto I Hospital in Rome. This consists of a playful series of images, neon lights and video projections by assume vivid astro focus in the middle of the Largo Argentina ruins in Rome and in a hidden garden created by the A12 group in the Venice lagoon as part of the 11th Venice Architecture Biennial. In 2007 three works were commissioned –  at the Piazza del Popolo, Rome by Italian artist Patrick Tuttofuoco; an interactive water fountain by the Danish Jeppe Hein in the Garbatella district; and a lunar eclipse by the English Angela Bulloch above the Ara Pacis in Rome.

The Artistic Director of the Award, Francesco Bonami, invited Carsten Höller (Belgium), Bruce Mau (Canada) and Paola Pivi (Italy) to participate, and Höller was selected by the international jury directed by Gianluca Comin, Enel’s Group Director of External Relations. The jury comprised: Joseph Backstein (Curator of the Moscow Art Biennial), Luca Massimo Barbero (MACRO former Director, Rome), Iwona Blazwick (Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London), Massimiliano Gioni (Artistic Director of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, Milan), Ivo Mesquita (Chief Curator of the Sao Paolo National Gallery), Jack Persekian (Director of the Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem).

Enel is Italy’s largest power company and the launch of the fifth edition of Enel Contemporanea, which involves the commission of an original artwork every year based on the theme of energy,  emphasises the company’s focus on contemporary art “due to its ability to express and transmit values of innovation, attention to the environment and an openness to the world. Today, these values constitute the three fundamental axes pertaining to the creation of a sustainable future”. Enel is also the main sponsor of the 54th and 55th Venice Biennial International Art Exhibitions in 2011 and 2013.

Carsten Höller. Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes. MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Via Nizza 138, angolo Via Cagliari, Rome. 2 December 2011 – 26 February 2012. Free entry

Image: Enel Contemporanea 2011, Carsten Höller, Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes, Rendering. MACRO, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Roma/Rome, Courtesy: Enel Contemporanea



About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space



  1. Pingback: Doug + Mike Starn: Big Bambú, MACRO Testaccio, Rome. Enel Contemporanea 2012 « AAJ Press - January 10, 2013

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