The house that wasn’t there

Abandoned houses have always struck me as rather sad.   Houses that are half torn down – even sadder, as if the inner secret life has been exposed to the elements and all eyes.  To see the layers of wallpaper ripped and torn, each surface revealing a past time, a past birthday and celebration in the house’s history, then to see the building in it’s final death throes is quite disturbing to me.

Sculptor Rachel Whiteread  (b. London UK 1963) is famous for her exploration of the negative space surrounding objects. In 1993 she won the Turner Prize for her exhibit ‘House’, a concrete cast of the inside of a Victorian terrace house: the negative space.  The house was the last standing in the street and has since been demolished.    ‘House caused a lot of controversy at the time and attracted lots of media attention.  Whiteread explains how she felt about the piece and some of the problems she encountered.

video from illuminationstv Thanks!

14 thoughts on “The house that wasn’t there

  1. I really like this project because it caused you to look at something familiar in a new way. That’s the art in it. I think one measure of its success is the diverse and sometimes hostile reaction it provoked in the public. Do you know if it’s still standing?

  2. It was demolished in 1993 Al. Here’s a great article about the house ‘House’ is basically a continuation of ‘Ghost’ where she cast one room. Her work is fascinating I think because its concerned with whats not there:) Glad you enjoyed this post!

  3. Rather than capturing the spirit of a home there is something haunting about this. It made me feel sad and sorry for the home. Reminded me of bronzed baby shoes oddly enough. More like trying to hang on to something that isn’t there anymore. Very interesting, Lynda.

  4. The bronzed baby shoes is a good analogy Leslie, – outgrown and a reminder of youth and the aging process! There is something sad and poignant about a cast off unwanted home. I think its the way its exposed for all to see – open to the elements where once it gave shelter.
    ‘House’ kind of ‘pins’ or fixes the ghost though. Haunting

  5. Come see Detroit. It as if the entire city has been transformed into some sad and elaborate sculpture. It is powerful and a photographer’s dream if they are seeking a particular mood.

    1. Sorry to hear about that Posky 😦 They have cleared a whole road of and some side streets of terraced houses quite near us. There is one house left standing. I must take a pic next time I pass (I never seem to have a camera on me when theres a good photo opportunity!) Thanks for visiting and commenting – appreciated!

      1. Oh I’m not too sad about it. The lack of jobs and the high crime aren’t really something I’m in love with but I really do like that SE Michigan has it’s own unique personality and has shaped a couple of generations of artists and “creative types” out here.

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