Carsten Höller, Light Wall, 2000/2017 © Carsten Höller. Photo: Attilio Maranzano

Carsten Höller in Welt ohne Außen at the Martin-Gropius-Bau Berliner Festspiele, Berlin, Germany.

On view June 8 through August 5, 2018.

The exhibition Welt ohne Außen features artworks spanning from the late 60s to the present day, together with live works and workshops. For the first time, Gropius Bau is issuing passes that will give permanent access to the exhibition and all its activities, inviting visitors to explore all facets of the show and to actively participate in the daily workshop programme.

Curated by Thomas Oberender and Tino Sehgal, the exhibition traces a development from the pioneers of immersive installations to contemporary artistic practices, bringing together a wide range of art forms and disciplines. Featuring installations, virtual reality, 3D-film, a smelling organ, as well as live works and workshops, the exhibition develops a unique dramaturgy that allows visitors to enter into these immersive spaces, with each work unfolding within its own temporality.

These situations—requiring a process of arrival, immersion, and emergence—are created within a format that, since its advent, has usually operated with an almost opposed modality: the exhibition. This ritual of Western modernism can be seen as an expression of a particular set of ideas about being in the world: a world that we, as human beings, confront in opposition, evaluating objects (including art objects) from a critical distance. Immersion, on the other hand, stimulates a direct and immediate experience. Entering and immersing oneself as a part of—and in relation to—an experience is prioritized over the evaluating observation. In this sense, immersive practices are an expression of a changing relationship with the world, one that is based not on a dualism between subject and object, but rather on the entanglement of situation and experience.

As the gap between the spectator and the work narrows questions of energetic charge, density and embodied engagement come to the fore. Starting with works in the minimalist tradition, Welt ohne Außen arrives at formats on the threshold of art and non-art, coming from different contexts that are rooted in varied arrangements and understandings, from immersive journalism to workshops and live works taking place in the weekly rotation.

The exhibition opens with a series of historical works from the late 1960s, with early works by Larry Bell and Doug Wheeler contrasted with an Environment by Lucio Fontana and Nanda Vigo. From here, the arc spans from more recent works like Carsten Höller’s Light Wall and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s Cosmodrome—two seminal works from the early 2000’s—to Cyprien Gaillard’s Nightlife. Gaillard’s hypnotic 3D-film marks the threshold of the transition from analog to virtual spaces, on the other side of which VR-pioneer Nonny de la Peña makes social realities tangible with the aid of virtual worlds. Beside the multi-layered scent-compositions of Wolfgang Georgsdorf, there will be weekly rotating live works in the Schliemann-Saal and a series of workshops co-curated by artist Isabel Lewis, exploring the elements that define Welt ohne Außen as a format between exhibition and live experience, between tangible works and social process, between art and non-art.

As a central element of the exhibition, the Schliemann-Saal will open its doors several times a day to present live works that exist in a tension between the staged and the situational. Artists from a wide spectrum of contexts will be presented in weekly rotation, among them Claire Vivianne Sobottke, Peter Frost and the Group Le Frau, Maria Francesca Scaroni, Xavier Le Roy and two-women-machine-show.

Bringing together a broad range of approaches to embodied practice from different practitioners, the workshops focus on ‘feeling’ as a bodily occurrence rather than ‘thought’ as a distancing intellectual process. The workshops span three connected rooms where visitors are invited to move through stages of deepening participation from ‘hospitality and orientation’ to ‘guided bodily practice and full-bodied engagement’ and eventually ‘self-orientation, experimentation and play’. The workshops present an opportunity to get involved in a variety of practices that aren’t necessarily artistic in nature but require dedication, commitment, and engagement. They focus on locating practitioners in the world, rather than outside of it. Participation is open to all and walk-ins are encouraged.


Martin-Gropius-Bau Berliner Festspiele | T. +49 30 254860
Niederkirchnerstraße 7 | 10963 Berlin | Germany
Website: Martin-Gropius-Bau Berliner Festspiele | Höller