Luhring Augustine is pleased to present Long Eyes, an exhibition of new sculpture and works on paper by Rachel Whiteread. This marks Whiteread’s eighth exhibition since the gallery began representing her in 1992. In Long Eyes, Whiteread continues her ongoing investigation of the domestic space and its significance as a potent site of memory and history. The architectural elements of the house are fundamental to her practice, and over the last two decades, she has cast the spaces in and around doors, floorboards, rooms and entire buildings in industrial materials such as plaster and concrete. The resulting sculptures are eerie ghosts of their former selves, remarkable for their minimalist compositions and austere beauty.
With this new body of work, Whiteread revisits the subject of doors and begins a series of windows, using resin as her medium. She casts the front and back of each object and merges them to create an inverse of the original. The translucent nature of the resin imbues these pieces with a lightness which belies their mass, and Whiteread has chosen colors evocative of light in relation to the passage of time. The faint grey of Dawn, the pale lilac of Daylight and the impenetrable blackness of Dark each represent a specific time of day, signifying an interest on the part of the artist to not only cast space, but to capture time. The doors too are cast in tones of grey, pale blush and radiant amber and are reminiscent of interiors suffused by light or shadowed in darkness.
Her two new shelf pieces, Half Dozen and Can I, include sculptures of beverage cans cast in plaster with iron oxide to appear rusted. Whiteread has often looked to the quotidian for inspiration, but these new works are particularly striking for their starkness – the fortitude of detritus is laid bare. Whiteread champions the invisible and compels us to consider the unspoken beauty which resides in the ordinary, be it the door of a house or litter on the street. Her sculptures are revelations of the traces we leave behind.
Rachel Whiteread has a long list of distinctions which include winning the 1993 Turner Prize for her public sculpture House, representing Great Britain in the 1997 Venice Biennale and presenting solo exhibitions at such institutions as the Serpentine Gallery, the Deutsche Guggenheim, Kunsthaus Bregenz and the Hammer Museum. Notable public commissions include Monument in Trafalgar Square, Water Tower in New York, the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, and most recently, the cast of a boathouse in Gran, Norway. The artist lives and works in London.