Collecting Memories: Rachel Whiteread’s House and Memory in Contemporary London
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Contemporary British artist Rachel Whiteread is celebrated for her ability to cast everyday objects that force the viewer to think about the spaces they typically ignore. House, one of Whiteread’s most well known and written about sculptures was created in 1993. House considered issues of memory in contemporary London, specifically parts of London that are experiencing drastic amounts of change. Current scholars understand House as a memorial, and while this thesis agrees with this interpretation, it also considers House as part of a group memorial with Whiteread’s other sculptural works created before and in 1993. This thesis begins by contextualizing Whiteread’s artistic practice in current scholarship and argues for further evaluation of House. After a thorough examination of the creation, destruction, and reception of House, I analyze current scholarship on the sculpture and consider the similar themes through Whiteread’s early work to prove their ability to act as a group memorial.