Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread launches new work for centenary of Forestry Commission

Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread launches new work for centenary of Forestry Commission 

Turner Prize-winning artist Rachel Whiteread today, 8 October 2018, unveiled a new sculpture in the heart of Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest. Nissen Hut is Whiteread's first permanent public sculpture in the UK. The work has been commissioned to mark the centenary of the Forestry Commission in 2019, and is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Nissen Hut is a concrete cast of the interior space of a Nissen hut, the distinctive military structure invented by Major Peter Nissen during the First World War. These prefabricated steel structures were easily erected and had a variety of uses, including as workshops, field hospitals, housing, and even churches.

Nissen huts were used to house labourers on Forestry Commission land after the organisation was established in 1919, to replenish the nation's timber reserves which were almost entirely depleted following the war effort. In Dalby itself, the structures were used in the forest’s 1930s work camp which offered much needed local employment and skills training to support the mass tree planting.

The work is part of Whiteread’s ongoing Shy Sculpture series, the aim of which is to cast and site unassuming buildings in the landscape. Rachel Whiteread said:

"Nissen Huts are an indigenous part of our post-war architecture. Placing this sculpture deep in the heart of Dalby Forest will lead visitors on a journey of discovery to its final resting place, a quiet memorial to these extraordinary structures.”

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said:

“At 14-18 NOW we invite artists to create new work in response to the First World War, and we are delighted to work with the Forestry Commission on this new work by Rachel Whiteread. Whiteread’s sculpture will be a permanent testament to the lasting impact of the First World War on the British landscape.”

Ian Gambles, Director of the Forestry Commission said:

"Dalby was one of the first forests to be planted by the Forestry Commission after we were founded almost 100 years ago in 1919, so it is entirely fitting that it is now the lasting home of this extraordinary piece of art. Whiteread's sculpture is a moving testament to the lasting relationship we have had with our changing landscapes over the past century, and I look forward to seeing it evolve across the seasons as the forest continues to grow and change around it."


Listings information

Nissen Hut
From 10 October 2018
Dalby Forest

For further press information please contact:

Harry Shepherd, Forestry Commission

Meera Hindocha, Forestry Commission

Notes to Editors

Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread was born in 1963 in London, England. She studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic, England, from 1982 to 1985, and sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art, England, from 1985 to 1987.

Rachel Whiteread’s approach to sculpture is predicated on the translation of negative space into solid form. Casting from everyday objects, oftentimes using spaces around or within furniture and architecture, she uses materials such as rubber, dental plaster, and resin to capture every nuance. In recent large-scale works, Whiteread has replicated the empty interiors of wooden garden sheds in concrete and steel, recalling the earlier architectural works Ghost (1990), House (1993), and the imposing concrete sculpture Boathouse (2010), installed on the water’s edge in the remote Nordic landscape of Røykenviken. Whiteread was awarded the International Medal of Arts, U.S. Department of State, and the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize in 2017.

14-18 NOW

14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It commissions new work by leading contemporary artists across all art forms; the programme has included over 200 artists from 35 countries, taking place in 160 locations across the UK. Over 30 million people have experienced a project so far, including 7.5 million children and young people. 16.7 million people took part in LIGHTS OUT in 2014, and 63% of the population were aware of Jeremy Deller’s, ‘We’re here because we’re here’. The UK tour of the poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper has been seen by over 4 million people to date. 14-18 NOW has won many awards for its work, including the National Lottery Heritage Award, 2017. 2018 is the final season, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War. 14-18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the DCMS with additional funding from The Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Clore Duffield Foundation, NatWest and support from

Forestry Commission
100 Years of Forestry: 1919 – 2019

Founded in 1919 to replenish the nation’s timber reserves in the wake of WW1, the Forestry Commission is England’s largest public landowner. It leads world-class research and actively manages over 1,500 public forests and woodlands to benefit people, nature and the economy. It acts as the Government’s expert forestry advisors, helping to protect, improve and expand England’s forests.

Throughout 2019 the Forestry Commission will celebrate 100 years of forestry with a programme of events taking place throughout England. It will mark this milestone by celebrating the vital contribution forests make to enhancing our wellbeing, economy and environment. It will also look ahead to the next hundred years, at how forests will continue to play a critical role in underpinning the resilience of our environment, landscapes and economy into the future.

Dalby Forest is situated on the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park and spans some 3,500 hectares. It welcomes around 450,000 visits each year to this site, where people can enjoy the many trails, year-round activities or just being immersed in nature. Nissen Hut is the latest project in Dalby's arts programme, where Helen Sear was recently the first artist in residence.