British artist Rachel Whiteread has drawn inspiration from a worn-out cardboard box, the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a trip to the Arctic to create a vast labyrinth of empty space at London's Tate Modern gallery.
Whiteread's installation "Embankment," unveiled Monday, is the latest exhibition to fill the gallery's Turbine Hall. The huge room , 500 feet (150 meters) long and 115 feet (34 meters) high , dominates the gallery, which was converted from a disused power station.
Whiteread's largest work to date is created from 14,000 white polyethylene boxes stacked into towers that dwarf visitors who wind around them. From above, the work resembles a landscape made of sugar cubes or blocks of ice, the AP reports.
Whiteread said the piece is "a culmination of 15 years of my thoughts." As she sorted through boxes in her late mother's house, she came upon one that had been a storage container for her toys. The box and the air inside it brought back a flood of memories, explained Catherine Wood, Tate's curator of modern art. The inverted casts of boxes representing the empty space inside them suggest barriers holding back floods of emptiness.
Whiteread was inspired by the final scene in the Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and a recent trip to the Arctic to witness melting ice caps also inspired the work, Whiteread said.
Whiteread won Britain's most prestigious art prize, the Turner Prize, in 1993 for "House," a concrete cast of the interior of a condemned house. Five years ago she filled an empty plinth in Trafalgar Square with a translucent upturned cast of itself.
Previous Tate Modern displays have included Anish Kapoor's "Marsyas," a blood-red snaking sculpture, and Olafur Eliasson's "The Weather Project," an artificial sun that filled the space with yellow light. AM