The exterior of the British Pavilion with people in 1997
Outside Rachel Whiteread's exhibition at the British Pavilion in 1997 ©

British Council

Famous for her sculpture that gives solid forms to negative space, Rachel Whiteread was the first woman to present a solo exhibition at the Pavilion. 

Whiteread had already received recognition in the UK as the first female to win the prestigious Turner Prize in 1993 but this exhibition propelled her onto the international stage. 

Whiteread is primarily a sculptor and the Pavilion exhibition included the cast works that she is most well known for. The main gallery space housed a plaster cast of the space underneath ten tables that are laid out as if they are in a boardroom, showing her interest in what goes on under the table at a meeting. This artwork was called Untitled (Ten Tables) (1996) and is now part of the Yale Center for British Art Collection.

She relished the opportunity to exhibit a cast of bookshelves that were part of her preparation for a public commission for a Holocaust memorial for Vienna, a cast of a library turned inside out known as the Nameless Library.

Whiteread likes to experiment with casting with different materials, including rubber, dental plaster and resin, and Untitled (Orange Bath) (1996) shown at the Pavilion is made of rubber and polystyrene.  

Take a look inside Whiteread's exhibition:

Sculpture by Rachel Whiteread at the British Pavilion in 1997
Untitled (Ten Tables) (1996) by Rachel Whiteread at the British Pavilion in 1997 ©

British Council

Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Arts at the British Council, was the Commissioner of the Pavilion for the third time, with support from British Council colleagues Brendan Griggs and Ann Gallagher.