The artist Rachel Whiteread creates elegant and poetic sculptures which explore architecture, space, absence and memory. Often inspired by the physicality of the human body, her works are poignant for their exploration of intimate domestic spaces and household objects. Whiteread typically uses industrial materials such as plaster, resin and rubber to cast the negative space surrounding or within an object - the murky darkness beneath a bed frame, the void within a humble cardboard box, the space in and around a myriad collection of books. The resulting sculptures retain the texture and shape of the original objects, yet are eerie ghosts of their former selves.
Whiteread is perhaps best known for several large-scale public commissions such as House, a sculpture cast from the interior of a condemned Victorian house in London’ s East End, Water Tower, a resin cast of the water towers ubiquitous to the New York City skyline, Monument, an inverted pedestal placed upon an empty plinth in Trafalgar Square and the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, an impenetrable library of books turned inwards in commemoration of the thousands of Austrian Jews who perished during World War II. Like her smaller sculptures, these monumental works are distinguished by their minimalist sensibility and their capacity to evoke stillness and contemplation. Her most recent commissions include The Tree of Life, a frieze for the historic façade of the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 2012, and Cabin, a permanent public sculpture for New York's Governors Island, which debuted in 2016.
Rachel Whiteread (b. 1963) was born in London, England where she currently lives and works. She studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic and sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art. Whiteread won the Turner Prize for her public sculpture House (1993) and represented Great Britain at the 1997 Venice Biennale. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel, the Reina Sofia, the Serpentine Gallery, and the Deutsche Guggenheim, among others. Her works are in several prestigious collections worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Tate, London and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. A major retrospective exhibition of Whiteread’s work is being organized jointly by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and Tate Britain, London and will open in the fall of 2017.
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