Art on This Day
On 23rd November 1993, Rachel Whiteread won both the £20,000 Turner Prize award for Best Young British Artist of the Year and the £40,000 K Foundation Art Award for Worst British Artist of the Year.
Rachel Whiteread (born 1963) is an English artist who primarily produces sculptures, typically in form of casts. Her approach to sculpture is predicated on the translation of negative space into solid form. Casting from everyday objects, or from spaces around or within furniture and architecture, she uses materials such as rubber, dental plaster and resin to record every nuance. Whiteread was also one of the Young British Artists who exhibited at the Royal Academy's Sensation exhibition in 1997.
In October 1993, Whiteread completed House, the cast of a Victorian terrace house. Perhaps her best known work, it was a concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian terraced house completed in autumn 1993, exhibited at the location of the original house in 193 Grove Road in East London (all the houses in the street had earlier been knocked down by the council).
However, it attracted a mixed response as it was won her both awards, the Turner for Best Young British Artist and the K Foundation Art Award for Worst British Artist. She was the first woman to win the Turner Prize since its inauguration in 1984.
The K Foundation was an art foundation set up by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty in 1993, who presented an award of £40,000 to the "worst artist of the year". Their shortlist was identical to the shortlist for the well-established £20,000 Turner Prize.
On the evening of 23 November 1993, Rachel Whiteread was presented with the 1993 Turner Prize inside London's Tate Gallery, and the K Foundation award outside on the street.
The K Foundation reportedly pre-announced Rachel Whiteread as their winner before the Turner Prize was awarded at 9.30pm to the same artist. Whiteread reluctantly accepted her K Foundation winnings with the sarcastic exclamation ‘What an honor’.
Tower Hamlets London Borough Council demolished House on 11 January 1994, a decision which caused some controversy itself.
Despite the fact that House stood for barely three months, its impact on British art is still resonant 20 years on.
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