RA Magazine Spring 2013
Issue Number: 118
Rachel Whiteread at Gagosian
Rachel Whiteread’s new casts of empty sheds radiate everyday poetry, writes Ben Luke
Twenty years ago, Rachel Whiteread made her ground-breaking sculpture, 'House' (1993), casting the entire interior space of a Victorian home in east London. The work won her the Turner Prize, but prompted huge controversy and it was pulled down.
Rachel Whiteread, 'Untitled', 2012. © Rachel Whiteread/Courtesy Gagosian Gallery/photo Mike Bruce. Today, Whiteread continues to make casts of the negative space within rooms and objects. She calls it ‘mummifying the air’, and in her show at London’s Gagosian Gallery, she turns her attention to the humble shed. Inspiration came from a boathouse she cast in Gran, Norway, in 2010. Whiteread said she ‘wanted to make a shy sculpture... that would stand there, peaceful and noble.’
Her subsequent series of cast sheds are uncanny sculptures, revealing her trademark balance of minimalist rigour and gentle domestic poeticism.
The show also includes resin casts of windows and doors, titled according to the year they, or the historic building they came from, were constructed. With these simple names, such as Circa 1665, she conjures up the memory of people from the past opening them – 20 years on from House, Whiteread is still making works of elegiac beauty.
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