House in the Shape of a Stretcher – Tim Renshaw


Solo exhibition Tim Renshaw Five Years Gallery September 2011

In an essay from 1910 the architect and critic Adolf Loos distinguishes between buildings that are for everyday practical use and buildings made for contemplation. The later type he asserts may be considered as both architecture and works of art. He refers to only two types of contemplative architecture namely the tomb and the monument. There are certain paintings made the early part of the twentieth century that do not observe this separation – by Hopper and de Chirico, for example. Here the commonplace is simultaneously experienced in the way a tomb might be. This mortifying gaze condemns building by inducing a sense that space has become inhospitable and alienating. It could be argued that these and other paintings made around this time, such as Carlo Carra’s The Abandoned House, 1916, are like premonitions of what will occur when building observes the prescription laid down by Loos and omit an aesthetic dimension. However, it might also suggest that buildings need these tombs or at least some space that is completely assimilable by the daily, practical and functional needs of an inhabitant. (Tim Renshaw)