Enthusiasm for minimalism revolves around the way such interiors erase and put out of sight the unordered detritus that accompanies our daily activities. In Modern Times , a recent TV programme, clients praised the tranquillity of their homes. They put it down to this absence of objects.
The installation work of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov - the 'Palace of Projects' at the Roundhouse in London - looks at other possibilities for the interior in the face of the torment of existence outside the domestic home. An effective polemical foil to minimalism, the Kabakovs' work involves the representation, rather than suppression, of the objects that bear witness to the trials of everyday life. A project for a Museum in the Home exhorts us to make a large wooden box in the corner of our flat in which to pile up in a heap all the things we were about to throw out. The curator reintroduces these objects as characters in conversations, celebrating their history, and making space to ruminate on their significance. 'Paradise under the Ceiling' involves the construction of a cornice-level shelf where the discarded objects of childhood form a tiny world, continuously lit and accessible only by ladder.
Does our devotion to ordering away unwelcome objects bear unconscious witness to the power of such objects, and the memory they evoke, to disturb? If so, a century of psychological insights should tell us that we are fighting a losing battle. The Kabakovs' work indicates a timely alternative.