Rachel Whiteread’s architectural installations are recognizable objects made with unexpected materials. A door made of resin that appears translucent pink, or a black mattress that looks like the leftover coals of a fire help to reconsider the objects possibilities and meanings. The mattresses say two very different things in white and black, made obvious also by the way the two are installed and documented. One lying flat in the middle of a decaying room appears totally dejected and quite violent. The white mattress is propped up against a wall, giving it a lighter look, as well as the actual condition of the room being more clean and the lighting more forgiving.
More epic in proportion is her “Water Tower” (1998) that is atop the Museum of Modern Art in New York, or her installation at Trafalgar square, “Monument” (2001) where she recreated, and placed the plinth upside down on itself. Presumably the water-tower is not able to function as such, and the plinth on top of a plinth is funny as well. Both are made of completely clear material, so they’re there but not. It’s a creative way to toy with materials and the viewers expectation and reaction to them, especially in object used in a practical sense, or ones with which we are well acquainted.