Carsten Höller on Feet

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Carsten Höller's FootPhotography by Julia Hetta

As his show opens at the Hayward Gallery, the ever inscrutable artist gets intimate on his favourite body part

“We speak a lot about hands, but not really feet and I wanted to give them some space, to look at them again and think about what we do with them, how we treat them, what kind of value they have. What I think about a person has a lot to do with whether or not I’ve seen their feet. Sometimes I like somebody until I have seen their feet – I can’t stop thinking about the shape of the feet when I think about this person. It can be unfair and disastrous. I really like flip-flops though. It’s an ingenious design and very honest. I have a hard time finding nice ones, which is another symptom maybe of the fact that we don’t think about our feet. I don’t know why feet are different from the rest of the body but they have their own character, their own personality. I like that they’re enigmatic. They have a lot of expression, something rudimentary, something before our cultural time.” 

If feet are an enigma to Carsten Höller, the same can be said of him. The inscrutable and the uncanny are often features of the Belgian-born artist’s work. Famous for the slides that corkscrewed around Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2006, as well as for almost imperceptibly slow-moving fairground rides, “upside down goggles” and the Double Club, a cross-pollination of Congolese and western culture staged in London in 2008 with Prada, he is this summer returning to London for a landmark exhibition at the Hayward Gallery before it shuts for refurbishment. He has called it Decision, a typically playful title for a show that is sure to provoke myriad forms of engagement. 

Decision is at the Hayward Gallery from June 10 to September 6. This article originally appeared in the latest issue of AnOther Magazine S/S15, out now.