Wow, a giant!  Not quite.  Don’t be misled, those are actually very small houses…

Like doll’s houses?  Exactly like doll’s houses…  Collected by the British artist Rachel Whiteread over two decades and kept in her basement ever since, the doll’s houses now get their chance to be centre stage.

Oh, right.  Why?   Well, they form the most atmospheric of exhibits at the inventive Psycho Buildings show on now at the Hayward Gallery.  The exhibition has given a selection of artists free rein to do what they like with spaces in the brutalist building and, so the curators hope, blur the boundaries between art and architecture.

Let me guess then, no-one’s treated it seriously and all the exhibits are all a bit of a joke?  Oh, you cynic!  Well, let’s just say that some of the exhibits come dangerously close to some of the gimmick-led Turbine Hall installations– suns, slides, cracks – that near-neighbour Tate Modern has been dining out on in recent years.  Amongst more sober works, Psycho Buildings features a miniature boating lake by the Austrian group Gelitin and a “a habitable platform that floats in the air” (i.e. a big bubble) by the Argentine Tomas Saraceno.

And Whiteread?  She sounds familiar…  Well, she should.  A Turner Prize winner – the first female winner in fact – Whiteread shot to a degree of mainstream notoriety with her House sculpture and has since made numerous moving works using similar methods, including the Vienna Holocaust Memorial (see, respectively, both below). 

A new direction of sorts, the doll’s house exhibit – Place – is no less poignant than its predecessors and is available to view at the Hayward until 25th August.


* Well, it’s been a wee bit longer than a fortnight since the last instalment, so a slight adjustment…