I was in York, England two weeks ago, and had the opportunity to check out the "Relationships: Contemporary Sculpture" exhibit at the York Art Gallery. I had just read the winter issue on "the standard" on the flight from Pisa to York, so I had it in mind as I checked out some interesting pieces (including Damien Hirt's "Relationships" and Sarah Lucas' "Willy", a garden gnome wrapped in cigarettes).
The most interesting piece, however, was a selection of six of Rachel Whiteread's 100 resin castes of the negative space beneath chairs [Untitled (Six Spaces)]. Whiteread's castes seem to be significant because, through "solidifying" negative spaces, and removing the objects that bound them, she dislocates our metaphysical conceptions of things. When we discuss the idea of the standard, we often do it in a spatialized discourse. Whether negatively or positively asserted, the standard always occupies "the center" of our mental visualizations of it, and its opposite occupies the periphery. This spatial ordering is interrupted, it seems, when our visual conceptions of objects (a chair, for example) are re-located to that objects periphery (as in, the space below).