The Guardian, 5 October 2004:
“Letting myself in with borrowed keys, I feel like the home help, or the health visitor come to call on Die Familie Schneider, Gregor Schneider’s installation – if that is quite the word – in two adjacent terraced houses in London’s Whitechapel. Or perhaps I live here too, but have somehow forgotten.
“Ignoring me, the woman at the kitchen sink is taking an interminable time over a grubby plate. Perhaps we’ve had a row. I might as well be invisible. More likely I am dead, but don’t know it yet, like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. Maybe I got run over or mugged and fatally stabbed on my way round here from the nearby Artangel office where I had picked up the keys, but have yet to catch up with the fact.” (Adrian Searle – full article here)
Frieze, February 2005:
“The interior could have been from any period in the last 30 years. Grimy flock wallpaper choked the rooms. Shabby thick brown carpet smothered floors. Every detail, down to the last cheap brass drawer handle, was pure British kitchen-sink misery. Upstairs, in the clammy, humid bathroom, a man masturbated in the shower, oblivious to visitors despite his furtiveness. In the bedroom a small figure sat calmly under a bin liner. As these tableaux became more outwardly sinister, so they also seemed more overt, and perhaps clumsy, in their reference points – cheap TV documentaries on serial killers, the morbid fascinations of tabloid sensationalists – a feeling reinforced by the sight of a small mattress in the putrid-smelling basement suggesting some unspeakable abuse.” (Dan Fox – full article here)
The Telegraph, 6 October 2004:
“When is the last time you thought twice about letting a door swing shut behind you as you entered a room? Or realised, with a shudder, that you were not alone in a house? I couldn't identify the smell that permeated these gloomy, comfortless rooms, but it was sweet, and curiously unclean.
“And when Schneider has succeeded in frightening the life out of you at number 14, you go next door to number 16. Now the essentially rational fear (of physical danger, of the unknown) you felt in the first house is transformed into a different kind of fear. For in the second house you find yourself in the realms of the uncanny, moving like a ghost revisiting the scene of its own murder, moving silently from room to room, experiencing a sickening sense of déjà vu.” (Richard Dorment – full article here)
“Every fibre in my body wanting to leave the place already, I push on through a beaded curtain into a living room. There’s an ashtray with three butts in it, and a brown sofa. I don’t pause for too long, and passing the woman on the way out, mount the stairs. The next room I enter is a bedroom, with fitted mirrored wardrobes, and little else besides a bed. There is a large plastic bag between the bed and the wall. It’s moving. I’m not going anywhere near it. I don’t know why I am still determined to avoid it – I guess I know I’m not going to like what I find.” (Henrietta Thompson)
The Observer, 2 January 2005:
“The presence of the houses was so powerful that ever since, from time to time, I have briefly imagined myself back in their claustrophobic space. Sometimes it will be a sweet, rotten smell of the kind that impregnated the gloomy rooms that acts as a trigger. Or I have come across others who made appointments to see the houses, all of whom want to share their survivors’ stories: Did you make it down into the cellar? Or: Did you see the pornography? Or: Did you hear a baby crying? There have not been many installations that so successfully isolate the viewer with his or her own fears. The visitors’ book kept by Artangel, who organised the show, is a testament to this. Page after page that reads: ‘Made me feel very very lonely’ and ‘I wish I could have gone in the basement but was too scared’ and ‘Aaaargh!’” (Tim Adams)