Rachel Whiteread

British sculptor

Rachel Whiteread (born 20 April 1963) is a Turner Prize-winning artist, best known for her sculptures, which typically take the form of casts. She was one of the so-called Young British Artists, and exhibited at the Royal Academy's Sensation exhibition in 1997. She created House, a large concrete cast of the inside of a Victorian house, and a resin sculpture, Monument, for the empty plinth in London's Trafalgar Square.

I don't want to make plop art — sculpture that just gets plopped down in places.


  • I make all this stuff in the studio, but I also work on these white elephants — like House or Untitled Monument — things that are incredibly ambitious, take an awful long time to do, involve a lot of controversy, an awful lot of people, and don't make any money particularly, but it's just because I need to make them.
  • I think the difference between me and some of the other YBAs [Young British Artists] was that I was ambitious for the work, and not ambitious for myself.
    • As quoted in "Still breaking the mould" by Gordon Burn in The Guardian (11 October 2005)
  • I became aware of Louise Bourgeois in my first or second year at Brighton Art College. One of my teachers, Stuart Morgan, curated a small retrospective of her work at the Serpentine, and both he and another teacher, Edward Allington, saw something in her, and me, and thought I should be aware of her. I thought the work was wonderful. It was her very early pieces, The Blind Leading the Blind, the wooden pieces and some of the later bronze works. Biographically, I don't really think she has influenced me, but I think there are similarities in our work. We have both used the home as a kind of kick-off point, as the space that starts the thoughts of a body of work. I eventually got to meet Louise in New York, soon after I made House. She asked to see me because she had seen a picture of House in the New York Times while she was ironing it one morning, so she said. She was wonderful and slightly kind of nutty; very interested and eccentric. She drew the whole time; it was very much a salon with me there as her audience, watching her. I remember her remarking that I was shorter than she was. I don't know if this was true but she was commenting on the physicality of making such big work and us being relatively small women. When you meet her you don't know what's true, because she makes things up. She has spun her web and drawn people in, and eaten a few people along the way.

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