Rachel Whiteread - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, January 17, 2024 | Phillips

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  • “Her work makes the negative space - the container of memories - visible. By casting from specific objects, Whiteread is able to capture the marks of the life in which they had a function.”
    —Jörg Schellmann 

    Harmoniously balanced between the realms of delicate and industrial materials, Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled (Nets) features intricately etched metal forms derived from the artist’s drawing of delicate vintage lace fabrics. In order to achieve the necessary level of intricacy, the works were created through the etching of metal sheets, making use of an industrial process typically reserved for manufacturing. The resulting productions encapsulate the fragility and intricate patterning of lace, juxtaposing the delicate textiles against the solidity of the metal medium. The artwork that emerges combines the robust, industrial tones associated with machinery with the soft touch of handcrafted embroidery. This creates a captivating dialogue that eloquently addresses themes of memory and craftsmanship.


    Handkerchief lace, c. 1860, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Mary A. Witthaus, 1901

    Whiteread is renowned for her sculptures that capture the negative space of objects found within the domestic realm. Within these sculptures, the void spaces around items such as beds, chairs, and light switches are transformed into tangible elements. In doing so, they speak to concepts of loss and memory, acting as a residue of something that once was. Untitled (Nets) similarly speaks to memory through replicating the original fabric’s breakages. Placed against white board, the metallic embroideries assume a dark silver hue, revealing the imperfections of the textiles they’re based upon. The tears to the fabric serve as evidence of their past role as part of a garment or upholstery within the home. These breakages reveal traces of past human interactions, creating a shadow of a material that was once worn or used.

     “They are the negative imprint, both relic and residue, of something that once was, their surfaces still showing legible traces of the object from which they were cast. Twice removed from their origin, they are both ghostly fossils and physical embodiments of ossified, negative space.”
    —Jörg Schellmann

    • Provenance

      Personal copy of the publisher and part of the Archive of Edition Schellmann since time of publication

    • Literature

      Jörg Schellmann, ed., Forty Are Better Than One, Munich/New York, 2009, pp. 58-59 and pp. 360-361
      ars publicata, Rachel Whiteread Editions, 2002.02 [1-5]

Works from the Archive of Edition Schellmann to benefit the Ars Publicata Project


Untitled (Nets)

The complete set of five etched German silver (copper/nickel/zinc) sheet metal gratings, mounted to white museum board (as issued), all contained in the original wooden box.
all mounts 65 x 52 cm (25 5/8 x 20 1/2 in.)
box 81.5 x 95.5 x 7 cm (32 1/8 x 37 5/8 x 2 3/4 in.)

All signed and numbered 'AP 7/10' in pencil on the labels affixed to the inside of each window mount (an artist's proof set, the edition was 36), published by Edition Schellmann, Munich and New York.

Full Cataloguing

£15,000 - 20,000 ‡♠

Sold for £12,700

Contact Specialist

Because of technical difficulties our sale is delayed. We should resume soon. Sorry for the inconvenience.


+44 20 7318 4024

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe

Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions

Louisa Earl
Associate Specialist, Editions

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 17 - 18 January 2024