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Rachel Whiteread in "ON BOARD THE SHIPS AT SEA ARE WE"

Installation view of ON BOARD THE SHIPS AT SEA ARE WE at The FLAG Art Foundation, 2019. Photography by Steven Probert.

Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled (Pair) (1999) is included in “ON BOARD THE SHIPS AT SEA ARE WE” alongside work by Robert Therrien and Lawrence Weiner.


The exhibition situates four artworks in a surreal dialogue that shifts viewers’ perceptions of scale, materiality, and the physical absence of the body. 

Rachel Whiteread’s minimalist, gloss white sculptures Untitled (Pair) (1999) extend Therrien’s interest in materiality and the memory of the body. Sensual, ethereal, and somewhat ambiguous in form, these complementary works recall mortuary slabs, originally designed to display, capture, and drain bodily fluids. Cast from one another in bronze—one slightly concave, one convex—the works (in theory) would interlock and complete the other.

Lawrence Weiner, one of the forerunners of Conceptual art, contributes two iconic wall-sized typographic texts to the exhibition: one on the opening wall, the other on its reverse. A MIRROR SCRATCHED AT THE BRIEF POINT TWIXT SILVER BLACK WHERE THE IMAGE TURNS TO RETURN TO SENDER, executed in chrome lettering outlined in black, both reflects and obscures the Therrien and Whiteread sculptures across from it, uniting all three voices in conversation.