The Double Club, London
‘I like my work to be half and half. Half art and half non-art,’ says Belgian-born artist Carsten Höller; and his latest project - a pop-up bar, restaurant and dance club in London that opens today - does just that.
Split in two in more ways than one, the new work also incorporates Holler’s personal passion for the Congo, and has a name – The Double Club – to match his philosophy.
The project is orchestrated by the Fondazione Prada and as Artistic Director Germano Celant explains, follows the foundation’s vision: ‘Our idea is not just to create exhibitions, but to do larger projects, ones that blur the distinction between art and life’.
Aiming to create a dialogue between Congolese and Western contemporary culture, the whole space is literally split in two, showcasing art, design, music and food from both cultural perspectives. However, instead of merging them into one, the artist chose to keep them distinctly separate yet harmoniously next to each other, and under the same roof. The Club features three rooms: a Western restaurant (pictured top), a Congolese courtyard bar (pictured above), and a revolving dance floor uniting both sides in a single room.
The restaurant will serve both Congolese and Western food on Congolese tablecloths and Kram and Weisshaar-designed tables, where the guests can savour from Kossa Kossa giant shrimps to classic crispy pork belly, before setting off for a dance to Western and Congolese tunes, either live, or by a DJ.
Not limited to food, the multiple cultural identity of the space also extends to artwork, including work by Carla Accardi, Ole Baertling, Andy Warhol and Louise Nevelson, to Congolese Cheri Samba, Franco and Moke the Painter, including a large Portuguese azulejos tiles garden showing the 1920s design of a flying city by Russian architect Georgi Krutikow.
Höller, who is also known from his Test Site giant slide installation in the Tate Modern last year, shares the Fondazione’s views and has always been particularly interested in art which would equally well stand happily outside a museum context. ‘I often see my work as making a proposition; the result is the personal experience,’ he explains.
The Double Club, which is directed by Jan Kennedy, the man behind Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy and co-founder of the legendary Ibizan club We Love Sundays at Space, will be with us, in London’s Islington, from the 21st November for six months; and after that, ’who knows?’ says co-designer Clemens Weisshaar.
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