a tale of a few cities

Rachel Whiteread, Stairs

Posted in Art, Sculpture by petercombe on February 5, 2010

Rachel Whiteread
1995, Correction fluid on black paper. 1 5/8 x 8 1/4″


I remember visiting a Rachel Whiteread exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery, London in the early 2000’s, and how mesmerized  I was by one of her Stairs pieces. It took a up a great deal of the gallery ceiling’s height. Much of Whiteread’s early work is comprised of casts of negative space, the undersides of tables, chairs, insides of bathtubs etc. To see the cast negative space of the “Stairs’ piece was really disconcerting, I experienced intermittent  moments of confusion. It being a cast of a multi level staircase presented itself like a difficult mathematical equation, mentally adding and subtracting what was not there.

Rachel Whiteread seemed to hit the art scene with House, perhaps her best known work, was a concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian terraced house completed in autumn 1993, exhibited at the location of the original house — 193 Grove Road — in East London (all the houses in the street had earlier been knocked down by the council). It drew mixed responses, winning her both the Turner Prize for best young British artist in 1993 and the K Foundation Art Award for worst British artist. Tower Hamlets London Borough Council demolished House on 11 January 1994, a decision which caused some controversy itself.

An exhibition of her drawings is currently on view (thru April 25, 2010), at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.



Rachel Whiteread
Ghost, 1990, plaster on steel frame
105 7/8 x 139 15/16 x 125 “


One Response

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  1. emily said, on February 7, 2010 at 2:23 am

    this is amazing! i love art. so much.

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