Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Rachel Whiteread's House (1993)

Whatever one thinks about contemporary art, one must find Rachel Whiteread's piece 'House' thought-provoking. It consists of a concrete cast of the interior of a Victorian terraced house – 193, Grove Road, Tower Hamlets, London. As such, it is an 'endocast' – a cast of the interior of a hollow object. In palaeontology, for example, endocasts of the cavity in the skull where the brain was once situated are taken to assess the brain's size and its state of evolution, even in its absence.

If the brain is where the mind might be said to reside, Whiteread's house – being an endocast of a former home – is where it might be said that people used to reside. Sadly, this piece was demolished in 1994. In the picture on the right, you may be able to make out the graffito 'WOT FOR' scrawled on the side. The vandalism, the ignorant sentiment, the poor spelling and the apparent lack of a question mark are also rather sad.

(Once again, I think my liking for right angles is catered for by this piece.)

House [1] House5

The second image is © John Davies – please, follow the link to visit his page.