Born in 1963, Rachel Whiteread began working in London during the mid-1980s when she was a student at the Slade School. From the beginning her work was closely engaged with the legacy of minimal and post-minimal art, including such figures as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Eva Hesse. Eventually she turned to the casting process--initially in wax and plaster, later in resin--that allowed her to create quasi-abstract replicas of ordinary objects, parts of the body, and eventually empty space. In 1988 she made several works by taking plaster casts of domestic features which, as she put it, carry "the residue of years and years of use."
For the past 15 years, Whiteread has developed various approaches to casting and impression as both a process and a vehicle for content. She is represented in most major museums of modern and contemporary art and in many private collections. In 1993 she won the Tate Gallery's Turner Prize and in 1997 she represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale. Her public commissions include the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, Austria, which was completed in 2000 and is located above the site of an excavated medieval synagogue.