- Rachel Whiteread, English, born 1963
- Concrete and steel
- Made in
- England, Europe
- Current Location
- On View, Outdoor, South Lawn
- 77 1/4 × 67 1/2 × 115 3/4 in. (196 × 172 × 294 cm)
- Credit Line
- Museum Purchase
- © Rachel Whiteread
- Object Number
Hear Expert Commentary
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Saint Louis Art Museum
Detached III gives permanent concrete form to the empty space within a humble, prefabricated garden shed of a type available in any home improvement store. Whiteread has spoken about her aim “to mummify the air” within architectural structures. When seen from a distance, the sculpture is very minimalist in design. Yet, close up, one can clearly see the imprint of the shed’s wood grain, lending the work a greater sense of intimacy. The imprints of door handles and windows also suggest a latent human presence. Whiteread’s choice of title, Detached III, in fact, relates to her interest in the idea of the shed as a space where artists and writers have gone to find solitary retreat.
Detached III is an example of what Whiteread has called her “shy sculptures,” because she has generally sited them remotely and inconspicuously, often requiring a journey to visit. This sculpture is located alone on the southwest side of the building to reflect this intention. In order to make her sculpture, Whiteread and her team lifted up the shed on all sides on supports and then sprayed its interior from below with liquid concrete. The sculpture is therefore hollow, although with a steel framework, it still weighs the significant amount of 12,125 pounds or 5,500 kilograms. It is a unique piece and relates to a small series of sculptures by the artist that represent other prefabricated sheds.
Detached III was purchased by the Museum in 2017 and complements the Museum’s existing collection of sculpture by prominent British artists such as Henry Moore, Antony Caro, and Andy Goldsworthy.