British, born 1963
Rachel Whiteread makes her sculptures by casting, a process in which an artist makes a mold of an object, fills the mold with a liquid material that hardens (in this case, resin), and then removes the mold, leaving behind a solid sculpture. The sculpture is a one-to-one copy of the shape of the original object, but it is also a negative copy of the shape of the mold, whose inner void it manifests in solid form. In this sense, all cast sculptures conjure absence and loss, and so it is a particularly appropriate method for Whiteread, who has cast various objects designated obsolete and destroyed in the name of progress, including furniture, staircases, water towers, and even an entire house. Seemingly weightless, her pale-hued resin sculptures of familiar items cast prominent shadows, haunting galleries with their ghostly presence. Uselessly propped up against the wall, Doorway I may remind us of a collapsing structure and, more broadly, of all the homes we’ve lost or left behind. It insists that the architectural elements that shape our lives—including even those as humble as a nondescript door—can be conduits of personal and cultural memory.
Label from Window to Wall: Art from Architecture, November 18, 2017–March 18, 2018