The Mushrooms of Carsten Höller Invade the Galleria De Carlo
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Giant mushrooms of various shapes and sizes crowd, along with linear abstract paintings, the elegant historic space of Palazzo Belgioioso, transformed into a full-scale doubt machine. A large showcase hosts 48 replicas of mushrooms in various colours, sizes and shapes, each composed by one-half Amanita Muscaria and the other half of various species, edible and inedible. It is Mushroom Mathematics, the kingdom in which Belgian artist Carsten Höller mixes geometry and magic, codexes and invention, rationality and absurdity, inviting us to explore new means of comprehension. Known for its poisonous and psycho-active properties, the Amanita Muscaria is an important element in the exhibition, as well as in cultural history. Because, as we are told in fables and even video-games, from the first films of Walt Disney to Super Mario Bros, this extraordinary mushroom has become a symbol of the unexpected. During the Victorian Era, the Amanita began appearing on Christmas cards as well. These mysterious 'vegetable subjects' have become, for Höller, an icon of ambiguity, the symbol of infinite seeking, the capacity to open the mind to unexpected effects, living them and reproducing them, at times, in seemingly incomprehensible ways. Surrounding these large pieces are the Division Paintings, a series of round, square and rhombus-shaped paintings of the same size, in various colours, based on a principle of mathematical partitioning.