Whiteread's choice of subject-matter reflects an awareness of the intrinsically human-scaled design of the objects with which we surround ourselves and exploits the severing of this connection, by removal of the object's function, to express absence and loss. Her early work allowed autobiographical elements. Later works move towards the expression of a universal human position, and their titles become correspondingly more prosaic.
Whiteread is one of the few artists of her generation to have produced monumental public sculptures. In 1993 she was awarded the Turner Prize just after creating House (1993; destr. 1994, see House) a life-sized replica of the interior of a condemned terraced house in London's East End made by spraying liquid concrete into the building's empty shell before its external walls were removed.
House, ed. S. Morgan (London, 1995)
Rachel Whiteread (exh. cat., intro. S. Morgan, interview I. Blazwick; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus., 1992–3)
Rachel Whiteread: Sculptures (exh. cat., Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus., 1995)
Rachel Whiteread: Shedding Life (exh. cat., essays F. Bradley and others, Liverpool, Tate, 1996–7)
Rachel Whiteread (exh. cat., text by A. M. Holmes, London Anthony d'Offay Gal., 1998)
10 December 2001
Copyright material reproduced courtesy of Oxford University Press, New York
Article provided by Grove Art Online www.groveart.com