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Carsten Höller, Isomeric Slides Hayward Gallery
Mock-up for Carsten Höller, Isomeric Slides, 2015©2015 Carsten Höller, courtesy the artist and LUMA Foundation

Hayward Gallery to install giant Carsten Höller slides

Populism (and playground rides) for the people!

If you've ever wondered how art galleries get more people past their doors, here's the answer: giant slides. That's what Southbank's Hayward Gallery is banking on for its next show with Carsten Höller. The London gallery has commissioned the Belgian artist to create two 39 metre-long, 15.5 metre-high installations titled "Isomeric Slides" which are, yes, actually fully-functioning slides. 

This isn't the first outing for Höller's mega-slides – in 2006, he installed five similar slides in the Tate Modern for a work called "Test Site"Audiences queued round the clock for a go on the slides, one of which went from the top floor of the Tate Modern. Höller says that his work is created to induce "an emotional state that is a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness". 

"Isometric Slides" is part of Decision, Höller's major exhibition at the Hayward. The whole show focuses on decision-making; at several points in Decision, audience members will be asked to choose how they interact with a work. One installation, "Pill Clock", consists of a ceiling-mounted timepiece that will drop a million unidentified pills onto the public over the coures of the show – and it includes a drinking fountain if you choose to swallow one.

Ralph Rugoff, the director of the Hayward Gallery and exhibition curator, said: “Carsten Höller is truly one of the world’s most thought-provoking and profoundly playful artists, with a sharp and mischievous intelligence bent on turning our ‘normal’ view of things upside-down. Decision will ask visitors to make choices, but also, more importantly, to embrace a kind of double vision that takes in competing points of view, and embodies what Höller calls a state of ‘active uncertainty’ – a frame of mind conducive to entertaining new possibilities.” 

Deciding whether or not to ride "Isometric Slides" out of the exhibition provides the final choice in the show. Although seriously, we can't think of anybody who wouldn't choose to slide out of any art show. Guess it's always a good thing when your latest exhibition also coincides with everyone's favourite playground ride. 

Carsten Holler: Decision opens on 10 June and runs till to 6 September at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank.