Press Release

Rachel Whiteread to undertake next commission in The Unilever Series

Tate Modern Turbine Hall
11 October 2005 – 26 March 2006

Tate and Unilever today announced that the British artist Rachel Whiteread will undertake the sixth commission in The Unilever Series for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern (11 October 2005 - 26 March 2006). Last year, Unilever provided additional sponsorship for the Series to continue for a further three years – until 2008. The current commission by Bruce Nauman continues at Tate Modern until 2 May 2005.

Rachel Whiteread is one of Britain’s leading contemporary sculptors. Her work has had a profound impact both in this country and internationally and she has produced several significant public sculptures. Although Whiteread’s work is often on a monumental scale, its central preoccupation is to represent apparently familiar domestic objects and interior spaces. Using a method of inverted casting from found, often personal, objects, Whiteread makes present the spaces in, under, on or between things. The physical representation of memory and absence is key to Whiteread’s work and, by frequently destroying the original object in the casting process, she explores the theme of loss.

Born in London in 1963, Whiteread studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic and sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art. She was awarded the Turner Prize in 1993 just after creating House (1993; destroyed 1994), a life-sized cast of the entire 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. Whiteread’s winning proposal for the Holocaust memorial for the Judenplatz in Vienna was one of the most prestigious sculptural commissions in Europe in the 1990s, and involved placing the cast interior of a library, including the imprint of books, in the centre of the square. It was unveiled in October 2000. Whiteread represented the UK at the 1997 Venice Biennale and created Monument for the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2001. She lives and works in London and her work is represented in many private and public collections worldwide.

The Unilever Series of annual commissions was launched in 2000 when Tate Modern opened with Louise Bourgeois’s I Do, I Undo, I Redo. The Spanish artist Juan Muñoz was the second artist commissioned in 2001 with Double Bind, while the first British artist to be commissioned was Anish Kapoor with Marsyas in 2002. Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project illuminated the Turbine Hall in 2003 and Bruce Nauman’s mesmerising sound installation opened in October 2004.

Commenting on the commission, Rachel Whiteread said:

To make a sculpture in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern is an enormous challenge. The space is like no other – gargantuan and enveloping. I hope to challenge the space by developing a degree of intimacy, which somehow relates to all our lives.

Vicente Todolí, Director of Tate Modern, commented on the announcement:

Tate is very pleased that Rachel Whiteread has accepted the latest commission in The Unilever Series. She has a well deserved reputation as one of the world’s leading contemporary sculptors. She has produced works of outstanding originality, among them some of the world’s great public sculptures. We are looking forward to working with her and with Unilever UK in the coming months.

Gavin Neath, Chairman of Unilever UK, said:

The Unilever Series is about creativity on a dramatic scale and we are delighted that Rachel Whiteread has accepted this sixth commission. Each year we have experienced stunning and original approaches to the challenges of filling the Turbine Hall and I’m sure this year will be no exception. To have a British artist of Rachel’s calibre and reputation is a real coup and we await the unveiling of her work in October with excitement and anticipation.