Can a slide be art? Watch as we install Carsten Höller’s Left/Right Slide


Our ‘experience’ is the primary ‘material’ Carsten Höller manipulates as an artist. He aims to alter how we perceive the world and spark the senses in new ways. Inspired by his work as a biologist, Höller uses the museum to make scientific and philosophical experiments that reshape our expectations about art and produce unexpected outcomes.

Höller visited the Gallery in 2010 when the work was commissioned. Hear his inspiration for Left/Right Slide and its connection to the local environment and the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

To slide is to experience ‘a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind’, says Höller recalling the words of sociologist Roger Caillois, eliciting ‘an emotional state somewhere between delight and madness’. The sensations generated by sliding are central to his work and we are invited to observe our own experience of fear, anticipation and excitement as we hurtle through space. 

So, what materials can art be made from, and when can a slide be art?

Before travelling in Left/Right Slide we must decide between two possible paths: left or right. What does our decision say about us? Are left and right separate, or part of a single whole? What might our choice reveal about our broader approach to the world? Are we left or right handed? Are our political associations with the left or the right? What meaning do these dichotomies really have?

View our time lapse for a behind-the-scenes look at how we install the three-story side before spiralling visitors from the top floor of GOMA to the bottom.

Carsten Höller, Belgium/Sweden b.1961 / Left/Right Slide 2010 / Stainless steel, polycarbonate and rubber mats / Commissioned for ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ / Purchased 2010 with a special allocation from the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist / Time lapse: Chloe Callistermon © QAGOMA