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Rachel Whiteread, Demolished (1996)


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
British artist Whiteread is best known for her rubber, plaster, and resin casts of the negative 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 space of an entire East End London rowhouse, received critical acclaim and the attention of the art world. Despite an outcry from advocates, the work/house was eventually demolished as scheduled.

To dispel her frustrations over this razing and as an extension of her interest in the physical spaces occupied in our urban life, Whiteread created Demolished, which depicts three housing complexes in the process of being leveled. Here, Whiteread has memorialized these undistinguished, generic buildings with her stark, serial photographs. The ominous lack of a human presence in this series parallels the sense of cultural remains or leftovers 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.

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Type: Commentary, object label
Source: Label text for Rachel Whiteread, Demolished (1996), from the exhibition 100 Years of Sculpture: From the Pedestal to the Pixel, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, February 22-May 24, 1998.
Rights: Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009