Carsten Höller

Kunstverein in Hamburg

The windowless room on the ground floor of the Hamburg Kunstverein is lit by few light sources, so when Carsten Höller put up a large round sign with the inscription “Glück” (Happiness) at the entrance to his recent installation, he created a very particular mood. Intriguing if fairly unobtrusive music filled the room: this was the sound track from Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris (Contempt, 1963), which Willer used as the accompaniment to a video that depicted a small child and a man, boisterously romping. Spontaneous feelings of warmth for this child were prompted by what biologists call the “infantility pattern.” The gawky movements and, above all, the special proportions that in young animals as well as small children cause the head to appear large in relation to the rest of the body are proven triggers for the emotions, which Höller (who holds a degree in biology) manipulated when he

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