About Rachel WhitereadPhotograph by Stephen White
Rachel Whiteread was born in London in 1963. She studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic and sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art. Whiteread’s breakthrough piece, Ghost, 1990, is a plaster cast of a living room, modelled on a typical Victorian terraced house, similar to the north London terrace in which the artist grew up.
Whiteread was awarded the Turner Prize in 1993 just after creating House under commission for Artangel. The life-sized replica of the interior of a condemned terraced house in London’s East End was made by spraying liquid concrete into the building’s empty shell before its external walls were removed. Whiteread’s winning proposal for the Holocaust memorial for the Judenplatz in Vienna, involved placing the cast interior of a library, including the imprint of books, in the centre of the square. It was unveiled in October 2000.
Whiteread represented the UK at the 1997 Venice Biennale and created Monument for the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2001. In 2005, Whiteread created Embankment, which consisted of some 14,000 transluscent, white polyethylene boxes (themselves casts of the inside of cardboard boxes) stacked in various ways, for the annual Unilever Series commission to produce a piece for Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall.
In 2008, the artist presented a new, larger version of her acclaimed installation Village, bringing together more than 200 dollhouses that the artist has collected over the past 20 years, for the acclaimed exhibition ‘Psycho Buildings’ at the Hayward gallery.
Whiteread lives and works in London and her work is represented in many private and public collections worldwide.