'House' was unveiled on 25 October 1993. It was an extraordinary work of art by any standard, an impenetrable inversion of domesticity – a machine for not living, if you like. It was obvious that it would not be ignored, but nobody could have predicted the publicity cyclone that followed.
House (1993), Rachel Whiteread.
Almost as soon as its shell was peeled off, House stood at the centre of a national debate that had no middle ground. ‘We knew the sculpture would generate interest from the beginning’, Lingwood says, but ‘House was a lightning conductor’. Whether they were praising it as ‘one of the most extraordinary and imaginative public sculptures created by an English artist this century’ (Andrew Graham-Dixon) or rabidly re-condemning it as ‘meritless gigantism’ (Brian Sewell), every newspaper-reading adult in Britain seemed to have an opinion that veered to one extreme or the other.
"People still talk to me a lot about House," she says today. "It still seems to be incredibly evocative and people can bring it up in their mind's eye. That's obviously very pleasing, but I also know that part of it is undoubtedly to do with the way it was destroyed."
© Harriet Grace Abbott, all rights reserved