15 Oct 2005
The Tate Modern has become something of a coach party attraction.
The annual commission to fill the Turbine Hall, a particular space for that particular audience, is about as challenging as it gets.
In previous years we watched draw dropping spellbound visitors to the Anish Kapoor trumpet which filled the hall physically and wondrously. Bruce Nauman also filled the hall but with cacophonous sound. We also found mesmerised visitors joyously participating in the magic of The Weather Project. Tate Modern visitors interacted playfully with the mirrored ceiling but were also awe-struck with wonder.
Rachel Whiteread has now taken up the challenge of filling the Turbine Hall and today I watched as visitors became filled with negative wonder. Why had she done this they wondered. I heard the same question reverberating at the base of every pile of white plastic boxes. I also heard more pointedly negative comments.
I am a fan of Whiteread, and I am a fan of boxes, in the conceptual sense, or at least I was in 1970. But this piece fails since it does not respond to the space meaningfully in scale, and it is also lamentably lightweight in meaning.
Lyn Barber has written a piece for today's Observer giving up one and half pages of comment on Whitereads “triumph”
Had I missed something?
I read Lynn Barbers piece with mounting alarm as she confirmed that Whitereads piece was indeed banal in that it was about moving house, which she has done a lot of in recent times. Lynn Barber is excited about moving house. Discuss.