'Untitled (Slade Pinboard)'
This four-minute audio clip describes the sculpture Untitled (Slade Pinboard) by Rachel Whiteread (b.1963).
Full audio description text
Untitled (Slade Pinboard) by Rachel Whiteread is a rectangular sculpture, fixed to the wall in the UCL Student Centre. It is just over a metre tall, about two and a half metres wide and projects 9 cm from the wall. Formed from three sections of white resin and cement compound, it has been assembled into a single continuous panel. It is a cast of an actual noticeboard which hangs at the foot of the main staircase in the UCL Slade School of Art, where Whiteread studied Sculpture. The artist described the original as: 'a place where random notices from staff, students and the university were diligently displayed. It was a meeting place – a place for discussion and ideas.'
This sculpture was made in 2018 as a site-specific commission for the UCL Student Centre, a new study and social space. It is displayed in the entrance next to the main reception desk facing Gordon Street. The real noticeboard comprises five vertical, hinged, glass doors behind which announcements are pinned. With the cast sculpture, from a distance the translucent, shiny, resin surface and white monochrome cement layer reveal little detail; on closer inspection, however, the forms of the door frames, notices and drawing pinheads are visible in shallow relief. The notices vary in size and are mostly neatly pinned; only two are overlapping. The casting process accurately renders the surface texture of torn paper edges, creases and the backboard itself.
In describing her approach to this commission Whiteread remarked, 'I wanted to make an interpretation of something from the site of the Slade and transpose that into the Student Centre. When looking around both sites, one of stuff and materials and the other of this new age of technology, I knew that I wanted to make a work that would confront that duality.'
Whiteread is well-known for her monumental 1993 Turner Prize-winning House, a full-sized concrete cast of the inside of an east London Victorian house – the sole one remaining of a terrace, and demolished weeks later. She was the first woman to win the prestigious award, and as of 2019 remains the youngest, being 30 on receipt. She was simultaneously awarded a £40,000 Anti-Turner Prize by Jimmy Caulty and Bill Drummond of the K Foundation for 'The Worst Artist in Britain' – voted for by the public from the actual Turner Prize shortlist. On hearing the prize money was to be burnt if not accepted she took the sum and gave £30,000 to artists in financial need and the remaining £10,000 to the housing charity Shelter.
Whiteread often works on a domestic scale, using subject matter that references the every day, to comment on human experience which is both personal yet universal. With Untitled (Slade Pinboard) Whiteread concludes:
'I have made a ghost of a place that still exists in its materiality but as we move further into this technological age and the tools for teaching, thought and study, change; it will stand as a memorial to times past.'
Art UK and VocalEyes
This audio description was created by VocalEyes for Art UK Sculpture, a national project to document and increase access to the UK's publicly owned sculpture. This description is one of 25 representing sculpture collections across the UK.