Sunday, 30 October 2005

Unilever Series

I liked the Bruce Nauman whispering gallery thing and everyone loved the Eliasson sunshine. Kapoor's massive scale was overwhelming. The lifts used the vertical space. And of course it all began with the enormous spider and the towers.

So now we come to Rachel Whiteread - my one time lifedrawing tutor (at Middlesex Poly when doing art foundation). I've always followed her work out of interest. Loved House in Bow, Ghost and also the work that was displayed when she won the Turner Prize. While I liked Monument, the see-through upside down plinth she did for the fourth plinth at Trafalgar square, it marked the use of casting material which keeps less detail than plaster and cement. [There is something subtle and beautiful about the crisp details captured by castings done in such intricate materials (each little crack is filled by the tiny particles in the mixture).] So the fourth plinth work was much more about its invisibility, or see-throughness, but lacked the crisp edges of her previous work - and was a little reminiscent of (as someone pointed out to me) a fox's glacier mint, only lacking a polar bear.

This piece is made of casts of cardboard boxes. Cast in some white plastic-type material. Multiples of the same castings. Stacked in a number of ways across the space, chaotic and neatly, creating walkways. I liked the towering, and the vistas. But somehow was disappointed with the obvious repeats of some of the castings and again the less crispy feel of the material. Sugar cubes came to mind. But I suppose that in itself - that something so big can bring to mind something of a tiny scale - is interesting. And that's kind of what I felt - it was interesting but not as awe-inspiring as some of the other exhibits. But then again I was also not feeling well, so perhaps I'll have to go back.

Lynn Barber Observer
Adrian Searle Guardian

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