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Whiteread makes casts of carefully chosen objects, most of which bear the trace of human use. She casts the ‘negative’ spaces around or beneath these objects, which then become the ‘positive’ forms of the sculptures. In Untitled (Nine Tables), the artist takes a familiar item of furniture, but presents only the residue or memory of its presence. This evokes the past of the object as well as the lives of those who once used it. Whiteread has said: ‘I always use secondhand things, because there’s a history to them.’


August 2004