Rachel Whiteread

The mystery of being an artist is quite important I think, the privacy. I need and enjoy that, and spend time keeping hold of that.

Rachel Whiteread in The Observer, 2017

Negative Spaces

Tate Britain's autumn/winter headline exhibition is a mid-career survey of the work of British sculptor Rachel Whiteread. The contemporary artist is known for her signature plaster cast sculptures of everyday objects, and for turning the empty space around them into solid form.

Whiteread casts ordinary things into artworks, transforming them into almost abstract works of art cast in materials such as plaster, resin, wax or concrete. She concentrates on the 'negative spaces' — the underside of a bath or chair, the inside of a hot water bottle or a house, stairs or shelves of a library. She is interested in the shape and space produced by things we take for granted.

The gallery has devoted a vast open space to show her work, knocking down walls in order to show all her work in one warehouse-like room.

Work on show includes her Untitled (Room 101), a plaster cast of the BBC office in Broadcasting House (now demolished) thought to have inspired George Orwell's Room 101 in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Also exhibited is her Untitled (Stairs) and the casts of the space under 100 chairs lined up in rows in differing shades of resin.

Whiteread is part of the YBA generation that hit headlines in the 1990s. She was the first female artist to win the Turner Prize, which she won for her controversial House in 1993 — a concrete cast of an entire East End house — and has also represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and had her work, Untitled Monument, chosen for Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth in 2001.

Also check out Rachel Whiteread Selects, a selection of works from the Tate's collection chosen by the artist. They include works by Richard Dadd, Anthony Caro, Barbara Hepworth, Sarah Lucas and Ricard Deacon.

Find out more


Now - 21 January

The exhibition has timed entry between 10am and 4.30pm daily.


Tate Britain
London SW1P 4RG