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Sculptor Whiteread explores the simple life in new UK show

British artist Rachel Whiteread walks through her new installation entitled The Unilever Series: Rachel Whiteread at its unveiling in the Tu
British artist Rachel Whiteread walks through her new installation entitled The Unilever Series: Rachel Whiteread at its unveiling in the Tu

By Li-mei Hoang

LONDON (Reuters) - Garden sheds, tin cans and other everyday objects form the backbone of a new show by British sculptor Rachel Whiteread which celebrates the simple things we take for granted in life.

"Detached", which runs from April 11 to May 25 at London's Gagosian Gallery, is the culmination of three years' work and marks a departure for Whiteread from her large-scale works such as "Embankment", which filled the massive Turbine Hall in London's Tate Modern.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors are greeted by the sight of three concrete casts of common garden sheds, marked with the rough grainy texture of wood and pock marks.

"They are casts from little humble buildings - sheds essentially - and they're cast in concrete, so there is no entrance, you can just see it from the outside," Whiteread said.

The works are a far cry from "Embankment" where Whiteread decked out the Turbine Hall with thousands of translucent white polythene casts of cardboard boxes in stacks or her "Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial" in Vienna where she cast an inverted library in concrete with the closed pages of the books turned outward in remembrance of Austrian Jews killed by the Nazis.

"I'm hoping people will somehow think about how humble the pieces are and maybe how our lives are and how we relate to the world and really that all of this work is made from nothing," the artist told Reuters.

"These things are just very simple objects that we totally take for granted from day to day."

The exhibition also features colored resin casts of doors and windows as well as her experimentation with smaller objects such as tin cans, bones and bottles.

Whiteread, who is the first woman to have won Britain's prestigious Turner Prize, is famous for her large scale installations of houses, buildings and rooms exploring the presence of empty spaces.

"The first thing I ever cast was a spoon. I pressed the spoon into the sand and then poured in some metal and then what I ended up with was a spoon without its 'spooness' and that was a very kind of powerful starting point for me."

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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