Rachel Whiteread was born in London in 1963. She studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic, 1982–85 and sculpture at the Slade School of Art, University College, London, 1985–87. She lives and works in London.
Notable solo and group exhibitions include: Rachel Whiteread, Serpentine Gallery, London (2001, traveled to Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh); Transient Spaces, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2001, traveled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York through 2002); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2005); MADRE, Naples (2007); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2009); and “Rachel Whiteread: Drawings,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010, traveled to Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas and Tate Britain). In 1993, Whiteread was awarded the Turner Prize. In 1997, she became the first female to represent Britain at the 47th Venice Biennale. She has received many commissions, including Nameless Library for the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna in 2000, Untitled Monument for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London in 2001 and Embankment for the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, London in 2005–06.
The first monumental sculpture that brought Rachel Whiteread recognition was Ghost, 1990, a plaster cast of the interior space of an ordinary room, shown at the Chisenhale Gallery, London. Details of the fireplace with its gas fire, door and window impressions and traces of wallpaper and flakes of colour from the paintwork held the memory of the place. From this Whiteread developed a practice that concentrated on negative space and gave concrete materiality to overlooked objects from the everyday. Using plaster, resin, rubber and plastics Whiteread gave familiar objects a quiet, subtle and poetic romanticism through their monochromatic presentation.