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Capturing a moment in time: Dame Rachel Whiteread unveils public artwork at UCL Student Centre

10 June 2019

On June 10, alumna Rachel Whiteread returned to UCL to reveal an artwork as part of two pieces commissioned for new multi-million-pound student centre.

Rachel Whiteread

At an event across UCL’s Student Centre and the recently restored Bloomsbury Theatre, artist Rachel Whiteread discussed her new work with Professor Briony Fer and Professor Tamar Garb from UCL and how they connect the Student Centre with the Slade School of Fine Art.

Rachel, an alumna of the UCL Slade School of Fine Art and the first woman to be awarded the Turner Prize in 1993, won a commission to sculpt an artwork that sits in the new student centre, a light-filled study and social space in the heart of UCL’s Bloomsbury campus. 

The sculptor has frozen a notice board found in the UCL Slade School of Fine Art in time, casting the board in transparent resin.

Rachel explains the inspiration of the piece saying, “One of my overriding memories of the Slade was its archaic notice board at the bottom of the main staircase – 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.

“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.”

This sculpture is one of two works commissioned for the UCL Student Centre by UCL Culture when it opened in 2019, together with a digital installation by multidisciplinary duo Thomson & Craighead.

The event is Rachel first public appearance since receiving a DBE at the Queen’s Birthday Honours on June 10 for services to art. 

The Student Centre was created by investment from UCL plus support from a generous group of UCL alumni and friends. Students are a priority project for the It's All Academic campaign – UCL’s most ambitious philanthropic and engagement campaign aiming to raise £600 million by 2022. From funding study spaces in the new Student Centre to raising support for scholarships, It’s All Academic. 

To find out how you can support the student centre, please click here.

More information

Rachel Whiteread Sculpture in UCL Student Centre
UCL Culture
Student Centre

Image Credits

Rachel Whiteread - photo courtesy of Gagosian
Artwork Images – photo courtesy of UCL Culture © Kirsten Holst