Art Meets Play in Miami Where Carsten Höller Debuts a Nine-Story Slide

Aventura Slide Tower inauguration | Photo by of Cultural Counsel
Aventura Slide Tower inauguration | Photo by of Cultural Counsel
Photo of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor2 March 2018

Carsten Höller’s practice aims to bridge the gap between mind-bending art and good old childhood fun. His latest installation, which debuted on February 11, 2018, is a nine-story tandem slide at the entrance to Aventura Mall in Miami.

Towering at some 93 feet, Carsten Höller’s new steel and glass installation intimidates and entices.

Aventura Slide Tower inauguration | Photo by / courtesy of Cultural Counsel

Aventura Slide Tower looms at the entrance to Miami’s recently expanded Aventura Mall, boasting two spiraling slides—one of which runs clockwise, the other, counterclockwise. The interactive sculpture is designed to foster an exhilarating and disorienting experience for two participants who simultaneously succumb to a 15-mile-per-hour joyride.

“When two individuals ride down together, it is possible to see the other person at the same time, creating a peculiar moment of recognition and of self-alienation, leading to a form of madness in some way—being able to meet in the air with a friend,” explains Höller, a former scientist, who says his “isomeric” work is about fun.

The slide’s unusual proximity to a mall transforms the installation into something accessible by myriad adults and children alike. Höller has garnered international recognition for his slides, which the artist has described as “sculpture[s] you can travel inside.” Yet the slide is a multifaceted experience for viewers as well as participants.

Aventura Slide Tower inauguration | Photo by / courtesy of Cultural Counsel

In an interview with curator Vincent Honoré, Höller informed that “it would be a mistake to think that you have to use the slide to make sense of it. Looking at the work from the outside is a different but equally valid experience…

“From an architectural and practical perspective,” he continued, “the slides are one of the building’s means of transporting people, equivalent to the escalators, elevators or stairs. Slides deliver people quickly, safely and elegantly to their destinations, they’re inexpensive to construct and energy-efficient. They’re also a device for experiencing an emotional state that is a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness.”

Höller, who has exhibited his work around the world, sees the slide as “somewhere between delight and madness,” and as a useful tool that should be integrated into architecture and city planning. Aventura Slide Tower is the artist’s first permanent installation in the United States, and is now a part of Aventura Mall’s expanding collection of artworks by the likes of Louise Bourgeois and Ugo Rondinone.

Aventura Slide Tower is permanently installed at Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, FL 33180.

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