London – Rachel Whiteread: “Detached” at Gagosian Britannia Street, through May 25th 2013

May 6th, 2013

Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce 3
Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce

Gagosian London is currently exhibiting Detached, a self-reflexive exhibition by Rachel Whiteread that calls to attention the artistic process itself, abstracting and casting everyday objects into large scale sculptures meant to symbolize the detachment from reality that an artist experiences during his or her process.


Rachel Whiteread, Detached 1 (2012) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo: Mike Bruce

Born in 1963 in London, 1993 Turner Prize-winner Rachel Whiteread studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic and sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art. Her work has been exhibited around the world, most importantly at the 47th Venice Biennale (1997), in a solo exhibition “Rachel Whiteread” at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2001); “Transient Spaces” at the Deutsche and New York Guggenheim Museums (2001-2002); and “Rachel Whiteread: Drawings,” which began at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and traveled to the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, then to the Tate Britain in 2010.


Rachel Whiteread, Detached 2 (2012) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo: Mike Bruce

Continuing her exploration of space and perception, Whiteread’s three sculptures within the present exhibit, titled Detached I, Detached II, and Detached III, invert the negative space that existed within three separate gardening sheds.  Casting the forms created within the architecturally dictated space of the shed, Whiteread uses steel and concrete to reveal small details of space between, above and around the bounds of a architectural space.  The inside is effectively turned to the outside, a solid form emerging from a wholly interior space.


Rachel Whiteread, Detached 3 (2012) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo: Mike Bruce

Other works in the exhibition include Circa 1665 (2012), LOOK, LOOK, LOOK (2012), and LOOM (2012), resin sculptures cast from doors and windows, propped up against plain white walls. Their elegant color and translucence leave their appearance subject to the changing light of the gallery, simultaneously reflecting and absorbing light coming from different angles as if cast from a fluid. Thus, the doors and windows from which the sculptures were cast have been totally distanced and have changed context completely – detached from their original function to become fragile ornaments within a gallery space.

Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce
Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce

Alongside these architectural studies, Whiteread also includes a selection of paper works: Untitled (Amber) (2012) and Untitled (Green) (2012). These two pieces are small-scale monuments, made of cardboard, and mounted on graphite-marked notepaper, then painted with silver leaf.  Miniature windows made of celluloid are meant to refer to the surrounding resin sculptures.  Bearing resemblance to an architectural model, the works play at intention and perception of scale, and challenges the inherent largeness of the works surrounding them.

Rachel Whiteread, Loom (2012) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce
Rachel Whiteread, Loom (2012) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce

Additionally, Whiteread includes three vitrines, entitled Some are abject objects (I, II, II) (2013), which encase found objects that reflect Whiteread’s own artistic process, and Squashed (2010), which include renderings of crushed tin cans, meant to symbolize themes of presence and void – both in a physical manifestation, and in the conceptual texture of human presence or absence in life and history.

Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce
Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce

Exploring a broad variety of themes, media and spaces, Whiteread’s show illustrates her continually evolving and nuanced practice.  Detached will continue at London’s Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, through May 25th, 2013.

Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce 3

Rachel Whiteread, Detached (Installation View) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce

Rachel Whiteread, circa 1760 (II) (2012) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce
Rachel Whiteread, circa 1760 (II) (2012) © Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo Mike Bruce

—E. Baker

Related Links:
Exhibition Page [Gagosian Gallery]