Sunday, September 14, 2008

Negative Space

Untitled (Paperbacks)
Rachel Whiteread
1997. Plaster and steel, Overall 14' 9 1/8" x 15' 9" x 20' 8 3/4" (450 x 480 x 632 cm).
Museum of Modern Art

It has been brought to my attention that I've focused a bit on painting thus far so to break from that mold, I am going to spend this week concentrating on introducing some sculpture to the mix. Today's work is by Rachel Whiteread whom I've been intrigued by for years. Whiteread casts the negative space created by objects. Early works included the casting of domestic objects such as bathtubs and chairs (both of which were at the Sensation show I mentioned in the post on Jenny Saville).

I've seen this work at MoMA and find it is pretty fantastic. You can see the traces of shapes and colors of the bindings of the books. It starts out as intriguing, then a bit unsettling, trying to figure out where the books would be, then comforting, since despite the lack of the physical books, its amazing how their presence is still felt. If you check the link in the title, you can hear a brief bit of Whiteread explaining the work. I've seen many of Whiteread's works of the years, the Albright Knox purchased jointly with the Carnegie Museum of Art, the negative space of a staircase, Untitled (Domestic). This is also the first time I'd heard of a joint purchase, but apparently its becoming more common with the exorbitant prices of work today.

She won the Turner Prize for casting a victorian house.

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