Process - Case Study - Rachel Whiteread

Process > Case Study: Rachel Whiteread's Untitled (Felt Floor)


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With BP, Rachel Whiteread produced two sculptures: Untitled (Felt Floor) 1 and Untitled (Felt Floor) 2, both floor pieces made in cast felt. While Whiteread had often explored the trope of the floor, Untitled (Felt Floor) represented a new material in the artist’s oeuvre: resin-impregnated white wool felt. The material's ability to be cast, its density, and its strength were conceptually and technically consonant with her practice, recalling Whiteread's older cast resin projects.

The process of fabricating Untitled (Felt Floor) began with reclaiming a 120-year-old wood floor from a New England textile factory. A cast was taken of the negative space above the wood floor. From this mold, bronze plates were produced in the positive, which were then used to cast the impression of the floor in large units of resinated-wool felt. Each unit was formed under 50,000 pounds per square inch of pressure to replicate the elegant surface of the floorboards.

After being cast in an American factory, the resinated felt had captured the grain patterns, texture, nuance and beauty of the old wood floor.
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