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Imagine - Rachel Whiteread: Ghosts in the Room
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I adore Rachel Whiteread’s sometimes monumental but always understated work. Untitled (Room 101) is a vast plaster cast she made of George Orwell’s old, now demolished office at BBC Broadcasting House. Then there’s Untitled (One Hundred Spaces), multicoloured, translucent resin blocks cast from the underside of 100 chairs. I’m tempted to smuggle one home in a wheelbarrow to keep as an occasional table or rigid pouf.
Britain’s most thought-provoking sculptor, the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993, Whiteread makes us consider the spaces within, preserving the dimensions and patina of objects long lost. Here she has the mixed fortune of being dogged by Alan Yentob during preparations for Tate Britain’s current retrospective of her work of the past three decades.
With the winner of the 2017 Turner Prize due to be announced on Tuesday,
profiles Rachel Whiteread, the YBA-associated sculptor who became the first woman to win the prestigious award back in 1993 with House, a full-scale replica of the interior of a terrace house in London's East End. Visiting Whiteread at her studio, Alan Yentob hears how the same piece that won her international fame was also reviled by a vocal contingent of critics, who awarded her a protest prize as `the Worst Artist in the World'. Despite her association with the Young British Artist set of the 1990s, Whiteread always considered herself as something of an outsider, fixated on themes of memory and absence, and Yentob explores how this fascination played into the development of her most acclaimed work - the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna.
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