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Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin Presents a Unique Project by Carsten Höller: SOMA
A woman sits on the Elevator Bed overlooking the exhibition of Belgian-born artist Carsten Hoeller at the "Museum fuer Gegenwart", a contemporary art museum, in "Hamburger Bahnhof" in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. For the duration of the exhibition "Soma" by Hoeller from Nov. 5, 2010, until Jan. 6, 2011, the bed serves as accommodation and can be booked for the night by one or two guests. For his installation Hoeller arranged twelve male castrated reindeer, reindeer urine, frozen and dried fly agaric mushrooms, freezer cubes, refrigeration units, snow, two houseflies of indeterminate sex, twelve canaries in aviaries and four mice. AP Photo/Gero Breloer.
BERLIN.- As of November 5th, the Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof presents a unique project by Carsten Höller: SOMA. In search of Soma the artist creates a three dimensional, living picture. His protagonists are unusual museum guests: reindeers and canary birds, mice and flies.

On the quest for another world, Carsten Höller follows the origin of Soma, a mythical libation of the Indo-Germanic Vedas from the 2nd millennium BC, with his installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart. Soma helped to gain enlightenment and access to the divine sphere, to bring fortune and victory.

The passed on descriptions suggest, that a plant delivered the core ingredient, its identity is still unknown. From a botanic, ethnologic and etymologic point of view it could have been the fly agarics.

Based on these circumstances Carsten Höller developed a scenario between laboratory and vision, alleged objectivity and increased subjectivity in the entire historical hall of the Hamburger Bahnhof.

Before the eyes of the observers unfolds an expansive “living picture”, a symmetrical experimental field, which is divided in two parts along its center line and which compares the ordinary world with the realm of Soma in a double-image experiment. This is an experiment, that find its completion in the imagination of the observer and whose evaluation is subject to your power of observation. On a mushroom like platform in midst of the arrangement resides a bed, where guests will have the opportunity to spend a night at the museum and to dive into the world of Soma.

Carsten Höller was born 1961 in Brussels and is counted among the most prominent contemporary artists. The artist, who lives in Stockholm, has presented significant work at the Documenta X (1997), the Expo in Hannover (2000) and at the Venice Biennial (2005). 2006 he installed an expansive piece in the “Turbine Hall” of the Tate Modern, which attracted worldwide attention.

But Carsten Höller has not always been an artist. To begin with he studied agricultural science in Kiel, Germany and habilitated 1993 in Phytopathology. Parallel to his work as a scientist he began his artistic career and integrated the experiment as a method into his artistic work.



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