Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 2pm EDT
Featuring Iwona Blazwick, Max Richter, and Mark Waldron
The sixth episode of Gagosian Premieres celebrates Rachel Whiteread’s exhibition Internal Objects at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, with a conversation between the artist and art critic and curator Iwona Blazwick, and performances by composer and pianist Max Richter and poet Mark Waldron.
As an artist you create a language, you create depth to a language, you change the language.
Gagosian is pleased to present Internal Objects, an exhibition of new work by Rachel Whiteread.
Whiteread employs the formal language of Minimalism, taking cues from its emphasis on geometric seriality, yet adds a quietly emotive aspect, maintaining an acute sensitivity to objects’ minor details and subtle markers of use and human irregularity. Over the past four decades, she has used the method of casting on both “low” materials such as concrete, resin, rubber, and plaster, as well as more traditional sculptural materials, such as bronze. Whether they take the form of monumental public installations or small, intimate objects, Whiteread’s forms imply hidden narratives and secret histories. She employs existing artifacts and spaces—including domestic objects like chairs and mattresses, interiors of rooms, and even, famously, an entire terraced house—to evoke and explore corporeal presence. Notably, her deft use of negative space can imply a thing that’s gone and been reincarnated.
In this exhibition, this suggestion of haunting, or ghostliness, is manifested in a different way. In Detached 1, Detached 2, and Detached 3 (all 2012), which she installed at Gagosian London in 2013, Whiteread rendered the empty interiors of three garden sheds in concrete and steel. Now, in Internal Objects, she has again created cabin-like structures but has, for the first time, eschewed casting existing objects in favor of building original ones. Poltergeist (2020) and Döppelganger (2020–21), which will occupy the two main rooms of the Grosvenor Hill gallery, are made of found wood and metal that has been meticulously overpainted in white household paint.
While Whiteread’s sheds of a decade ago were closed, the new sculptures are open, inverting the formal system of their predecessors. They suggest that something catastrophic has occurred, allowing nature to take over. Whiteread was inspired by her reading of John Steinbeck, and by her experience of driving through the Mojave Desert and Death Valley in California after installing two sculptures in Joshua Tree National Park in 2017. Although the new works represent a departure from her established sculptural process, they continue her overall project in considering the intimate haptic qualities of the spaces that surround us.
The exhibition will also feature a new body of sculptures in resin and new works on paper, as well as recent cast sculptures in bronze, similar to works in bronze Whiteread made in 2000–10, and exhibited at a major retrospective at Tate Britain in 2017.
A fully illustrated catalogue, including a short story by John Steinbeck and an essay by Richard Calvocoressi, will be published to accompany the exhibition.
Augurs of Spring
As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.
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.
Rachel Whiteread and Ann Gallagher
Rachel Whiteread speaks to Ann Gallagher about a new group of resin sculptures for an exhibition at Gagosian in London. They discuss the works’ emphasis on surface texture, light, and reflection.
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.
Cast of Characters
James Lawrence explores how contemporary artists have grappled with the subject of the library.
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.
London Gallery Weekend
Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread
June 4–6, 2021
As part of the inaugural London Gallery Weekend, Gagosian will have extended hours at all three London locations. Damien Hirst: Relics and Fly Paintings, the second exhibition of the artist’s yearlong takeover of the Britannia Street gallery, will be unveiled on June 5 to coincide with the event. Visitors can also see Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects at Grosvenor Hill, alongside additional works by the artist at Davies Street, before it closes on June 6. London Gallery Weekend is a new and free annual event featuring over 140 of the city’s leading contemporary art galleries coming together to celebrate culture and creativity.
As part of the event, Gagosian is collaborating with the Connaught Patisserie for a special pop-up, which will be at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, on June 5 from 10am to 4pm and June 6 from 11am to 3pm.
Installation view, Rachel Whiteread: Internal Objects, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, April 12–June 6, 2021. Artwork © Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates