Number 193 Grove Road used to be an unexceptional Victorian house in the East End of London. ''Mile End, E3 - 3 storey end of terrace Victorian house, 4 beds 2 receps, original features,'' an estate agent might have described it. Extensively remodelled, improved beyond habitability, it has become both monument and memorial. It has become Rachel Whiteread's House: a strange and fantastical object which also amounts to one of the most extraordinary and imaginative public sculptures created by an English artist this century.
193 Grove Road is no longer a home but the ghost of one perpetuated in art. It has no doors, no windows, no walls and no roof. It was made, simply (although the process was complicated, the idea itself was simple) by filling a house with liquid concrete and then stripping the mould - that is, the house itself, roof tiles, bricks and mortar, doors and windows and all - away from it. The result could be described as the opposite of a house, since what it consists of is a cast of the spaces once contained by one.
Facing House, on the other side of Grove Road, stands the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Now the Witnesses can knock on the door of number 193 until kingdom come but there will be no one home. Rooms that were once lived in have become solid blocks of stone, megaliths piled one on top of another like an infant giant's building bricks. Foursquare sash windows that once looked out on to the world have become blind, heavy, cruciform reliefs. Doors that once opened have become sealed panels of rock. The house has, itself, become a giant sarcophagus, a mausoleum containing (but also concealing, as mausoleums do) the lives and memories of all the people who...

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