Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rachel Whiteread Part One

Rachel Whiteread is a British artist, who works in castings/sculpture and memory. She became the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993, for House 1993.

Whitereads oeuvre is probably the single most inspirational reference that I have as an artist and as a human being in general, I honestly believe that I haven't lived a week, maybe even a day, without thinking about her work since I was introduced to it in my VCE Art exam in 2005.

Her more recent works such as Place (Village) 2006-08 in which the artist collected old handmade English dollhouses and arranged them into a luminescent and melancholic community of delicate proportions, are highly intriguing and inspirational, not to mention brilliant.

Furthermore, she is more widely known for public monuments such as Water Tower 1998- a translucent resin cast of a water tank in New York, which now belongs to MoMA and the Holocaust Memorial 1995/2000 in Vienna- a tombesque cube encapsulated by the casts of hundreds upon hundreds of concrete cast bindings of ghost books, a solid memoir of the stories of so many that will never be told, or never even had the opporunity to be written.

Yet, House 1993, would have to be the image that comes to mind when thinking of Whitereads presence, it was her first public scuplture which was born following the completion of her work Ghost 1990- which consisted of a solid concrete cast of a single room, inclusive of a fireplace hollow and feathered and aged wallpaper.
House represented the concept so intriguingly conveyed by Ghost on a much larger and more imposing scale, here Whiteread (and a dedicated team) set to the task of casting an entirely house.

After casting the internal structure they began to tear away the walls, revealing the sculpture, with a shell that picked up much more detail than originally hoped and whose scale and material echoed the brutality that had been employed in order for its creation.

House stood for two and a half months before being torn down, following a media onslaught. Now this silent monument of lost conversations, heartbreaks, happiness and lives, is only recorded within the minds of those who witnessed it, or like myself, read about it........

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