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Untitled (Black Books)

Untitled (Black Books)

Black Plastic and Steel, 1996/97


Courtesy British Council Collection

Few things are more telling than an individual's bookshelf; it is an open invitation into the intimacy of the reader. Black Books withholds all the information from which such a profile could be drawn, inviting us instead to meditate on what the reverse of individual memories, choices and experience might be. Whiteread has made many book related works, and here again uses the sculptural nature of objects to open up gaps and show us unfathomable dimensions.

Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread is an English sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker. Employing traditional casting methods and materials that are commonly used in the preparation of sculptures rather than for the finished object, such as plaster, rubber and resin, she makes sculptures of the spaces in, under and on everyday objects. Her art operates on many levels: it captures and gives materiality to the sometimes unfamiliar spaces of familiar life (bath, sink, mattress or chair), transforming the domestic into the public; it fossilises everyday objects in the absence of human usage; and it allows those objects to stand anthropomorphically for human beings themselves.

Among her most renowned works are House, a large concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian house, the holocaust memorial sculpture in Judenplatz Vienna and her resin sculpture for the empty plinth in London's Trafalgar Square. She has had recent solo exhibitions at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Serpentine Gallery, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London (2005); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Tate Britain, London.