Speak, Memory: Rachel Whiteread

12 December 2010 thru 20 February 2011
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Back to overview page Speak, Memory: click here

Personal stories, distorted memories, lost moments and old traditions, traces of buildings: these are the elements that connect the diverse works in this exhibition. Below we focus on the work of Rachel Whiteread.

Rachel Whiteread (1963) is a British artist and the first woman to win the Turner Prize, in 1993. She is best known for her sculptures. GHOST (1990) and HOUSE (1993) are two of her most famous works. The first is the cast of the inside of a room in a Victorian house, the second a concrete cast of a complete house in London's East End neighbourhood. After much controversy and protest, HOUSE was destroyed. Whiteread is fascinated by the traces of history, the layers of history, and loves playing with them.* She focuses primarily on architectural structures and common objects; making in her work tangible what no longer exists.

In Speak, Memory two small sculptures will be shown: UNTITLED (ON, OFF) from 2001 and UNTITLED (DOORKNOB II) from 1993/2003. These common objects or tools that are found in every home and that you normally pay little attention to and simply expect to work, are immortalized in metal. Thereby they become monuments to small, untold stories and unwritten histories. Or in the words of writer AM Homes: "She shows us the unseen, the inside out, the parts that go unrecognised."**

* Rachel Whiteread in an interview with Bice Curiger in Tate Etc, autumn 2010.
** AM Homes on Rachel Whiteread in RACHEL WHITEREAD: TRANSIENT SPACES (Guggenheim Museum).

Whiteread derives her power from her perception of this transitory place, the temporal entrapment of the unpeopled room. She understands how the exclusion of mundane light converts the room into a recording instrument, a machine for remembering, as well as the memory itself.
[Iain Sinclair on the work of Rachel Whiteread in HOUSE (Phaidon)]

Iain Sinclair gives a Knight's Move lecture at Stroom on January the 25th, 2011.