An intimate portrait of British sculptor Rachel Whiteread as she unpacks her life’s work for a major retrospective at Tate Britain in London. Though she rose to prominence with the YBA generation of Young British Artists, Rachel Whiteread was always something of an outsider. Her work explores themes of memory and absence, casting sculptural forms from familiar domestic objects small and large, from sinks and hot water bottles to living rooms – and a terraced house.
This film revisits Whiteread’s acclaimed and controversial work House, a full-scale replica of the interior of a terraced house in London’s East End that fuelled a national debate about contemporary art. Alan Yentob visits Rachel in her studio. She recalls the turbulent day in 1993 when she became the first woman to win the Turner Prize and simultaneously learned that house was to be demolished – and she would be obliged to accept a protest prize as the Worst Artist in the World. That day proved to be a turning point in a remarkable career. Since, Whiteread has represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and won the commission for yet another highly controversial, now universally-acclaimed work – The Holocaust Memorial in Vienna.
‘Eureka! A programme about a woman artist that doesn’t define her as a wife and mother first and an artist second.’
The Arts Desk