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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 (Torso), c. 1992 Wax, 4 × 9 × 6 ½ inches (10.2 × 22.9 × 16.5 cm)© Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Torso), c. 1992

Wax, 4 × 9 × 6 ½ inches (10.2 × 22.9 × 16.5 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, Detached 1, 2012 Concrete and steel, 78 ¾ × 67 ¾ × 43 inches (200 × 172 × 109 cm)© Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, Detached 1, 2012

Concrete and steel, 78 ¾ × 67 ¾ × 43 inches (200 × 172 × 109 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, LondonArtwork © Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Mike Bruce

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

Concrete, installed at the US Embassy, London
Artwork © 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

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, earlier this year. 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

Ed Ruscha. Photo: Sten Rosenlund

Online Exclusive

Artist Spotlight
Ed Ruscha to kick off new season of Gagosian’s online series

Launching September 16, 2020

Gagosian is unveiling a new vision for the Artist Spotlight series that will operate independently of our exhibition program. This will cement the platform’s status as a vibrant aspect of the gallery’s programming that allows artists to operate imaginatively beyond the physical exhibition format.

The second season of Artist Spotlight—a series that focuses on an individual artist for one week each month—premieres on September 16, 2020, with a new project by legendary artist Ed Ruscha. A selection of works by preeminent artists—including John Currin, Takashi Murakami, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, and Rachel Whiteread—will debut this fall. For updates, please contact the gallery at collecting@gagosian.com.

Ed Ruscha. Photo: Sten Rosenlund

Rachel Whiteread with her sculpture Detached I (2012) at Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, 2013. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Honor

Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread has been awarded a damehood in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2019 birthday honors list. The annual honors mark the reigning monarch’s official birthday by recognizing individuals whose outstanding and longterm achievements have contributed to the United Kingdom.

Rachel Whiteread with her sculpture Detached I (2012) at Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, 2013. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Zeng Fanzhi, Rooster, 2019 © 2019 Zeng Fanzhi

Art Fair

Art Basel Hong Kong 2019

March 29–31, 2019, booth 1C18
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, with works by Georg Baselitz, Edmund de Waal, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Andreas Gursky, Duane Hanson, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Yayoi Kusama, René Magritte, Giorgio Morandi, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Rachel Whiteread, Jonas Wood, Christopher Wool, Zao Wou-Ki, Zeng Fanzhi, and others. 

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Download the full press release in English (PDF), Simplified Chinese (PDF), or Traditional Chinese (PDF)

Zeng Fanzhi, Rooster, 2019 © 2019 Zeng Fanzhi

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Museum Exhibitions

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 2005 © Gregory Crewdson

On View

Photography’s Last Century
The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection

Through November 30, 2020
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
www.metmuseum.org

This exhibition celebrates the remarkable ascendancy of photography in the last century, and Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee’s promised gift of over sixty photographs in honor of the Met’s 150th anniversary in 2020. The collection is particularly notable for its breadth and depth of works by women artists, its sustained interest in the nude, and its focus on artists’ beginnings. Work by Gregory Crewdson, Andreas Gursky, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and Rachel Whiteread is included.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 2005 © Gregory Crewdson

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

Installation view, Objects of Wonder: From Pedestal to Interaction, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark, October 12, 2019–March 1, 2020. Artwork © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2019

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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.

Installation view, Objects of Wonder: From Pedestal to Interaction, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark, October 12, 2019–March 1, 2020. Artwork © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2019

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

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Press

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