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Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Ghost, 1990 Plaster and steel frame, 269 × 355 ½ × 317 ½ inches (683.3 × 903 × 806.4 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Ghost, 1990

Plaster and steel frame, 269 × 355 ½ × 317 ½ inches (683.3 × 903 × 806.4 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Bath), 1990 Plaster and glass, 40 ⅝ × 82 ½ × 41 ½ inches (103 × 209.5 × 105.5 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Bath), 1990

Plaster and glass, 40 ⅝ × 82 ½ × 41 ½ inches (103 × 209.5 × 105.5 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Pink Torso), 1991 Pink dental plaster, 3 ¾ × 6 ¾ × 9 ⅜ inches (9.5 × 17 × 23.5 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Pink Torso), 1991

Pink dental plaster, 3 ¾ × 6 ¾ × 9 ⅜ inches (9.5 × 17 × 23.5 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Table), 1993 Resin, 27 ⅝ × 48 ¼ × 22 ¼ inches (70.2 × 122.3 × 56.5 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Table), 1993

Resin, 27 ⅝ × 48 ¼ × 22 ¼ inches (70.2 × 122.3 × 56.5 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Stairs, 1995 Correction fluid on paper, 11 ⅝ × 8 ⅜ inches (29.5 × 21 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Stairs, 1995

Correction fluid on paper, 11 ⅝ × 8 ⅜ inches (29.5 × 21 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Trafalgar Square Project, 1998 Photographic collage and acrylic on museum board, 19 ¾ × 12 ⅜ inches (50 × 31.5 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Trafalgar Square Project, 1998

Photographic collage and acrylic on museum board, 19 ¾ × 12 ⅜ inches (50 × 31.5 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Monument, 2001 Resin and granite, 354 ⅜ × 200 ⅞ × 94 ½ inches (900 × 510 × 240 cm), installed in Trafalgar Square, London© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Monument, 2001

Resin and granite, 354 ⅜ × 200 ⅞ × 94 ½ inches (900 × 510 × 240 cm), installed in Trafalgar Square, London
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (White), 2000–01 Steel and enamel, 8 ¼ × 6 ¼ × 6 ¼ inches (21 × 15.9 × 15.9 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (White), 2000–01

Steel and enamel, 8 ¼ × 6 ¼ × 6 ¼ inches (21 × 15.9 × 15.9 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, FOLDED, 2004 Plaster, 4 × 11 ½ × 15 ¼ inches (10.3 × 29 × 39 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, FOLDED, 2004

Plaster, 4 × 11 ½ × 15 ¼ inches (10.3 × 29 × 39 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, RED, BLACK, WHITE, 2008 Gouache, pencil, and collage on paper, 22 ½ × 30 inches (57 × 76 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, RED, BLACK, WHITE, 2008

Gouache, pencil, and collage on paper, 22 ½ × 30 inches (57 × 76 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, The Gran Boathouse, 2010 Concrete, installed in Røykenviken, Gran, Norway© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, The Gran Boathouse, 2010

Concrete, installed in Røykenviken, Gran, Norway
© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, LOOK, LOOK, LOOK, 2012 Resin, in 3 parts, each: 74 ⅝ × 15 ⅝ × 5 ⅞ inches (189.5 × 39.5 × 15 cm)© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, LOOK, LOOK, LOOK, 2012

Resin, in 3 parts, each: 74 ⅝ × 15 ⅝ × 5 ⅞ inches (189.5 × 39.5 × 15 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, Detached 2, 2012 Concrete and steel, 76 ⅜ × 67 ¾ × 92 ⅛ inches (194 × 172 × 234 cm)© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, Detached 2, 2012

Concrete and steel, 76 ⅜ × 67 ¾ × 92 ⅛ inches (194 × 172 × 234 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, Tree of Life, 2012 Bronze, permanent installation at Whitechapel Gallery, London© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Michael Bowles/REX/Shutterstock

Rachel Whiteread, Tree of Life, 2012

Bronze, permanent installation at Whitechapel Gallery, London
© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Michael Bowles/REX/Shutterstock

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled, 2013 Resin, in 2 parts, overall: 38 ⅝ × 18 ⅞ × 3 inches (98 × 48 × 7.5 cm)© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled, 2013

Resin, in 2 parts, overall: 38 ⅝ × 18 ⅞ × 3 inches (98 × 48 × 7.5 cm)
© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, US Embassy (Flat pack house), 2013–15 Concrete, installed at the US Embassy, London© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, US Embassy (Flat pack house), 2013–15

Concrete, installed at the US Embassy, London
© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, Nissen Hut, 2018 Concrete, 9 feet 10 ⅛ inches × 17 feet ¾ inches × 36 feet 5 inches (3 × 5.2 × 11.1 m), installation view, Dalby Forest, Yorkshire, England© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Ben Thomas, Forestry Commission

Rachel Whiteread, Nissen Hut, 2018

Concrete, 9 feet 10 ⅛ inches × 17 feet ¾ inches × 36 feet 5 inches (3 × 5.2 × 11.1 m), installation view, Dalby Forest, Yorkshire, England
© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Ben Thomas, Forestry Commission

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled, 2019 Papier-mâché, overall dimensions variable© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled, 2019

Papier-mâché, overall dimensions variable
© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

About

Seeing a great piece of art can take you from one place to another—it can enhance daily life, reflect our times and, in that sense, change the way you think and are.
—Rachel Whiteread

In Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures and drawings, everyday settings, objects, and surfaces are transformed into ghostly replicas that are eerily familiar. Through casting, she frees her subject matter—from beds, tables, and boxes to water towers and entire houses—from practical use, suggesting a new permanence, imbued with memory.

During her childhood in London, Whiteread’s parents’ interests in art and architecture made an enormous impact on her understanding of form and material. Her father’s fascination with urban architecture “enabled [her] to look up,” and her mother’s artistic practice allowed her to see the intersection of home and studio, life and art. Whiteread fondly remembers helping her father lay a concrete floor in their basement to convert it into a studio. The processes of looking, emptying, and filling run throughout her work, revealing how the surfaces of daily life can disappear and reappear, bearing the traces of their previous lives.

Whiteread studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic and sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art in the 1980s. In 1988 she had her first solo exhibition, at the Carlisle Gallery in London, which included the sculptures Shallow Breath (1988), cast from the underside of a divan, and Torso (1988), the first in a series of cast hot water bottles. The Torso sculptures (1988–) are notably the only works in her oeuvre that make direct anthropomorphic reference. This exhibition marked the beginning of Whiteread’s use of domestic items; in these early pieces, she often left remnants of the original objects—such as scraps of wood—embedded into the cast forms.

Ghost (1990) was Whiteread’s first large-scale sculpture and set in motion the ambitious, architecturally scaled works for which she is widely recognized today. Made by filling a room of a Victorian house in North London with concrete to create a solid cast that picks up the details of the walls, mantle, and windows, Ghost is a positive room-sized object that reveals itself gradually, as one encircles the huge form. Whiteread expanded on this working method in House (1993; destroyed 1994), cast from an entire Victorian terrace house. Whiteread created this work after all the other terraces in the row had been demolished, and it stood alone as a reminder of the working-class homes that once spanned the street. The sculpture sparked heated debates around issues of real estate, class divisions, and urban sprawl.

Whiteread’s first public commission in New York, Water Tower (1998), was cast from one of the city’s distinctive rooftop water towers in clear resin. “On a cloudy, gray day,” Whiteread explained, “it might just completely disappear. And on a really bright blue-sky day, it will ignite.” This ethereal presence contrasts with the weight of her Holocaust Memorial (2000), permanently installed in Vienna. Dedicated to the 65,000 Austrian Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the sculpture resembles, in the words of James Lawrence, “a private library turned inside out,” each wall lined with rows of nameless books, with two permanently closed doors on the front. In 2018 Whiteread’s US Embassy (Flat pack house) (2013–15) was unveiled at the United States Embassy in London, where the cast sections of an average 1950s suburban American house, arranged as separate geometric planes on a wall, greet visitors as they enter through the consular court.

Rachel Whiteread

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Tom Eccles and Kiki Smith on Rachel Whiteread

In Conversation
Tom Eccles and Kiki Smith on Rachel Whiteread

On the occasion of Artist Spotlight: Rachel Whiteread, curator Tom Eccles and artist Kiki Smith speak about the work of Rachel Whiteread through the lens of their personal friendships with her. They discuss her public projects from the early 1990s to the present, the relationship between drawing and sculpture in her practice, and the way her works reveal the memories embedded in familiar everyday objects.

Still from the video "In Conversation: Rachel Whiteread and Ann Gallagher"

In Conversation
Rachel Whiteread and Ann Gallagher

Rachel Whiteread speaks to Ann Gallagher about a new group of resin sculptures for an upcoming exhibition at Gagosian in London. They discuss the works’ emphasis on surface texture, light, and reflection.

Piero della Francesca, The Baptism of Christ, after 1437, egg on poplar.

Rachel Whiteread on Piero della Francesca

Rachel Whiteread writes about the Italian artist’s Baptism of Christ (after 1437) and what has drawn her to this painting, from her first experience of it at a young age to the present day.

Anselm Kiefer, Volkszählung (Census), 1991, steel, lead, glass, peas, and photographs, 163 ⅜ × 224 ½ × 315 inches (4.1 × 5.7 × 8 m)/

Cast of Characters

James Lawrence explores how contemporary artists have grappled with the subject of the library.

Rachel Whiteread, Nissen Hut, 2018.

Shy Sculpture: Nissen Hut

Rachel Whiteread’s public sculpture Nissen Hut was unveiled in October 2018 in Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest. Curator Tamsin Dillon explores the dynamic history of these structures and provides a firsthand account of the steps leading up to the work’s premiere.

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Notre-Dame), 2019.

For Notre-Dame

An exhibition at Gagosian, Paris, is raising funds to aid in the reconstruction of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris following the devastating fire of April 2019. Gagosian directors Serena Cattaneo Adorno and Jean-Olivier Després spoke to Jennifer Knox White about the generous response of artists and others, and what the restoration of this iconic structure means across the world.

Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

The Summer 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Afrylic by Ellen Gallagher on its cover.

Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019

The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.

Becoming Home

Becoming Home

Rachel Whiteread’s US Embassy (Flat pack house) was unveiled in its permanent home at the new American embassy in Nine Elms, London, in early 2018. Virginia Shore, the curator for the London embassy project who worked with Whiteread to realize this site-specific commission, reflects on the history of prefabricated housing, the power of “home,” and the connecting force of art.

Solid Recollections: Rachel Whiteread

Solid Recollections: Rachel Whiteread

James Lawrence explores the quiet power and critical role of memory in Rachel Whiteread’s public works.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Rachel Whiteread, Cabin, 2016, permanent installation, Governors Island, New York © Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Tim Schenck

In Conversation

Tom Eccles and Kiki Smith on Rachel Whiteread

Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 2pm EDT

Join curator Tom Eccles and artist Kiki Smith as they discuss the work of Rachel Whiteread through the lens of their personal friendships with her. They talk about the way her works reveal the memory embedded in familiar everyday objects, her drawing practice, and their experience of public projects by Whiteread such as Water Tower, installed on a New York rooftop in 1998. Their conversation, recorded on the occasion of Artist Spotlight: Rachel Whiteread, will air online. To register to watch, complete this form.

Rachel Whiteread, Cabin, 2016, permanent installation, Governors Island, New York © Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Tim Schenck

John Currin, Pistachio, 2016 © John Currin

Art Fair

West Bund Art & Design 2020

November 12–15, 2020, booth A102
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
westbundshanghai.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design 2020 with an extensive group presentation. Along with the gallery’s booth at ART021 Shanghai, on view between November 14 and 15, this will be Gagosian’s first in-person art fair since the covid-19 lockdown in March. The gallery’s participation was made possible by extraordinary support from the artists involved.

John Currin, Pistachio, 2016 © John Currin

Photo: Anita Corbin, from the series First Women UK

Artist Spotlight

Rachel Whiteread

October 21–27, 2020

In Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures and drawings, everyday settings, objects, and surfaces are transformed into ghostly replicas that are eerily familiar. Through casting, she frees her subject matter—from beds, tables, and boxes to water towers and entire houses—from practical use, suggesting a new permanence, imbued with memory.

Photo: Anita Corbin, from the series First Women UK

See all News for Rachel Whiteread

Museum Exhibitions

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled, 2010 © Rachel Whiteread

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Rachel Whiteread

September 7, 2019–March 8, 2020
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens
georgiamuseum.org

Using various materials to articulate the negative space surrounding or contained by objects, Rachel Whiteread has elaborated various approaches to casting and impression as subject, process, and vehicle for content. In this solo exhibition, Whiteread is exhibiting a 2010 series of five outdoor stone sculptures, cast from the voids under different chairs.

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled, 2010 © Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Air Bed II), 1992 © Rachel Whiteread

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Objects of Wonder
From Pedestal to Interaction

October 12, 2019–March 1, 2020
ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark
www.aros.dk

Objects of Wonder features sculptural works from 1960 until the present. The exhibition, conceptualized in collaboration with Tate, London, showcases recent sensory or thought-provoking sculpture and experiments. The audience encounters a series of works that challenge the genre, where tactility, context, and light play a central role. Work by Damien Hirst, Bruce Nauman, and Rachel Whiteread is included.

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Air Bed II), 1992 © Rachel Whiteread

Installation view, Resonating Spaces, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, October 6, 2019–January 26, 2020. Artwork © Rachel Whiteread

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Rachel Whiteread in
Resonating Spaces

October 6, 2019–January 26, 2020
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
www.fondationbeyeler.ch

Resonating Spaces aims to create a specific quality of spatiality in very varied forms—acoustic, sculpted, and drawn. Although different from one another, the works in the show create spaces rather than being perceived as single objects only. They induce sites and respites in which the capacity of remembering is elicited and images and memories come to life. Work by Rachel Whiteread is included.

Installation view, Resonating Spaces, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, October 6, 2019–January 26, 2020. Artwork © Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Pink, 1993 © Rachel Whiteread

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Pushing Paper
Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now

September 12, 2019–January 12, 2020
British Museum, London
britishmuseum.org

Celebrating drawing in its own right, rather than its historic role as preparatory to painting, this exhibition explores how contemporary artists have used drawing to examine themes including identity, place, and memory. Work by Glenn Brown, Ellen Gallagher, Anselm Kiefer, and Rachel Whiteread is included.

Rachel Whiteread, Pink, 1993 © Rachel Whiteread

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Press

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