Rachel Whiteread


Rachel Whiteread : biography

20 April 1963 –
— David Cohen, Artnet — reviewing the Sensation exhibition in 1997.

House (1993)

Whiteread’s House, the controversial sculpture for which she won the 1993 [[Turner Prize and the 1994 K Foundation award.]] House, perhaps her best known work, was a concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian terraced house completed in autumn 1993, exhibited at the location of the original house — 193 Grove Road — in East London (all the houses in the street had earlier been knocked down by the council). It drew mixed responses, winning her both the Turner Prize for best young British artist in 1993 and the K Foundation art award for worst British artist.Walker, John A. (1999) , excerpt from Art & Outrage. Tower Hamlets London Borough Council demolished House on 11 January 1994,Roberts, Alison . "". The Times, London, 12 January 1994. a decision which caused some controversy itself.

The critical response included:

"A strange and fantastical object which also amounts to one of the most extraordinary and imaginative sculptures created by an English artist this century.

The Independent

"Denatured by transformation, things turn strange here. Fireplaces bulge outwards from the walls of House, doorknobs are rounded hollows. Architraves have become chiselled incisions running around the monument, forms as mysterious as the hieroglyphs on Egyptian tombs."

The Independent

Untitled (One Hundred Spaces) (1997)

For the Sensation exhibition in 1997, Whiteread exhibited Untitled (One Hundred Spaces), a series of resin casts of the space underneath chairs. This work can be seen as a descendant of Bruce Nauman’s concrete cast of the area under his chair of 1965.

The critical response included:

"like a field of large glace sweets, it is her most spectacular, and benign installation to date […] Monuments to domesticity, they are like solidified jellies, opalescent ice-cubes, or bars of soap — lavender, rose, spearmint, lilac. They look like a regulated graveyard or a series of futuristic standing stones with a passing resemblance to television sets."

— Andrew Lambirth, The Spectator, 12 October 1996.

"Particularly effective when bathed in natural light, it creates beauty from domestic nothingness."

— Nick Hackworth, London Evening Standard, 12 November 2002.

Water Tower (1998)

In 1998, Whiteread made Water Tower as part of a grant for New York City’s Public Art Fund. The piece, which is 12′ 2" and 9′ in diameter, was a translucent resin cast of a water tower installed on a rooftop in New York City’s SoHo district.http://www.publicartfund.org/pafweb/projects/98/whiteread_release_98.html The piece is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).http://www.publicartfund.org/pafweb/projects/98/whiteread_98.html Just as Ghost led on to the larger and better known House, so Water Tower led to the more public Trafalgar Square plinth work three years later.

The critical response included:

"an extremely beautiful object, which changes colour with the sky, and also a very appropriate one, celebrating one of the most idiosyncratic and charming features of the New York skyline."

— Lynn Barber, The Guardian, 27 May 2001.

Holocaust Monument a.k.a. Nameless Library (2000)

Holocaust Monument (2000) [[Judenplatz, Vienna]] Whiteread’s casts often seem to emphasise the fact that the objects they represent are not themselves there, and critics have often regarded her work to be redolent of death and absence. Given this, it is perhaps not surprising that she was asked by Austrian authorities to create a work in remembrance of Austrian Jews killed during the Holocaust. Due to political sensitivities and bureaucracy the process, from commission to unveiling, took five years.