Bitter struggles bury Holocaust memorial

Click to follow
The British artist Rachel Whiteread disclosed last night that the Holocaust memorial she has designed for Vienna may never be installed.

The 34-year-old former Turner Prize-winner said political in-fighting had stalled the project.

Some politicians in Austria did not want a Holocaust memorial. Others opposed her because she is not Jewish. Others said the metaphor of the piece - a concrete cast of a library of books, representing Hitler's attempted destruction of a people and its culture, ignored working-class victims and concentrated only on intellectuals. Others wanted the piece moved away from the planned site in Vienna's old Jewish ghetto. Speaking at the Venice Biennale, Ms Whiteread told The Independent last night: "It is all of these things. I am very angry. I cannot now see it going ahead. It is a bitter disappointment."

Her disclosure threatened to take the gloss off the biggest night of her career as she became the first woman to represent Britain with a solo show at the Biennale. She said that winning an international competition to design Austria's Holocaust memorial had been rendered all but worthless.

She has nearly finished the installation, which was to be placed in the Judenplatz in Vienna and was supposed to open last year, then this year, and then next June.

It is not the first time Ms Whiteread's work has caused an outcry. Her 1993 Turner Prize-winning work, House, a concrete cast of the interior of a house in east London, was knocked down by the council.

She said last night: "No one from Austria has spoken to me for six months. I absolutely refuse to move the piece to another site."