An important aspect of Van Halm’s practice has been the rigorous explorations of the relationship between architecture and gender which led her to paint a series of domestic interiors.
…The two works in the exhibition, Bungalow and Pauline continue to address and build on Van Halm’s earlier concerns. Bungalow refers to the small single family house that became popular in Britain and North America between 1910 and 1930. the term bungalow is derived from the Bengali word bangala – the typical native dwellings of British Bengal.1 These mass-produced prefabricated homes were marketed by companies like Sears and advertised as affordable for the workingman.2 The symbolized the changing structure of cities and the development of the suburbs in the early part of the century. Van Halm’s interest in the bungalow focuses primarily on the manner in which these houses have undergone various transformations over the years through changes of ownership and subsequent renovations. The house serves as a vehicle to display the personality, affluence and needs of their owners. …
Pauline reflects Van Halm’s interest in the relationship of architecture and gender by examining issues of décor and personal space in relation to architecture. …Pauline is a 3/4 scale model of a corner of a studio room in Schindler’s Kings Road House in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Constructed in 1922, the house is recognized as a modern masterpiece for its plan, materials, construction system and spatial relationships. …
Pauline (the work’s namesake) …painted her studio a vivid pink. …Van Halm recreates this pink to refer to Pauline’s decorative transgression thus pointing to a rupture in the binarism between architecture and decoration. Van Halm draws attention to Pauline’s action in relationship of modern architecture and the gendering of space.
1 Alan Gowans, The Comfortable House, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986), 76.
2 Ibid, 78.