Rachel Whiteread has stepped in to complete a project begun over one hundred years ago in London’s east end. The original plans for the facade of the famous Whitechapel Gallery, designed by Charles Harrison Townsend, included a frieze embodying the gallery’s public message – to bring great art to the people of London. It was never realised and a large black rectangle has instead remained above the main entrance all that time. Earlier this year the Whitechapel commissioned Whiteread to create a frieze to complete the facade and it was unveiled this morning by the artist, Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick OBE and Danny Boyle, the film maker and Olympics 2012 opening ceremony director. The work is Whiteread’s first ever permanent public commission in the UK.
Whiteread has lived near the Whitechapel Gallery for the past 25 years. For the commission, she drew inspiration from the decorative Tree of Life Motif, which is part of the terracotta building, to create a new work of art celebrating the qualities of the existing architecture. Whiteread took casts from existing features to create clusters of gilded leaves and branches which catch and reflect light as a motif that floats above the existing trees on the upper part of the facade.
To read the full article please visit Phaidon