British sculptor Rachel Whiteread is best known for her rubber, plastic, and resin casts of the spaces beneath floors, bathtubs, tables, beds, chairs, and the interiors of architectural spaces. Attempting to give tangible form to negative space, her work House (1993), a plaster cast of the interior of an entire East End rowhouse in London, received critical acclaim and the attention of the art world. Despite an outcry from advocates, the sculpture was eventually demolished as scheduled.
To dispel her frustrations over this razing and as an extension of her interest in the dwellings occupied in our urban life, Whiteread created Demolished, which documents three housing complexes in the process of being leveled. Here, the artist has memorialized these undistinguished, generic buildings with her stark, serial photographs. The lack of a human presence in this series parallels the sense of cultural remains evoked by many of her sculptures. Whiteread considers photography and printmaking to be part of her working process. Photography, because of its documentary potential, reproductive nature, and inherent remove from the artist’s touch, closely parallels her use of casting.
This portfolio of images by Rachel Whiteread builds upon the museum’s growing concentration of work by young British artists, including Angus Fairhurst, Dinos and Jake Chapman, Chris Ofili, Sam Taylor-Wood, Yinka Shonibare, and Georgina Starr.