About the Artwork

Nathaniel Rackowe’s large-scale urban shed structure is installed, seemingly mid-explosion, upside-down, its contours wrenched apart, exposing its illuminated interior. The wooden shed, painted with black bitumen, emanates an eerie acid-yellow glow from the white strip-lighting inside it reflecting off the painted walls of its interior. The structure appears to be exploding, split apart by the force of the light within. Rackowe says, ‘I thought it interesting to take the humble shed and elevate it so it can rise up and challenge architecture, deconstructing it to the point where you are forced to re-read it.’ Referring to garden sheds throughout the suburbs of London, the work has an equally universal impact in its depiction of such a familiar, domestic structure.

Year: 2014/2016

Copyright the artist, courtesy of William Benington Gallery Photo: © Nick Turpin


Timber shed, fluorescent lights and fittings, bitumen, paint, steel


240 x 220 x 220 cm. Edition 2 of 2 (2016 edition)

Artist Biography

Nathaniel Rackowe

Born in 1975, Cambridge, UK. Lives and works in London, UK. Rackowe's often large-scale urban referenced structures are designed to recreate the experience of navigating the city around us. His works are abstracted impressions of today's metropolitan experience evoked through the vicissitudes of light as it fluctuates throughout the city. Influenced by Modernism, Rackowe uses the mass manufactured derivative products of that era - glass, corrugated plastics, concrete, scaffolding, breeze blocks and strip lights - to recreate the collective experience and visual sensations of urban contemporary life. Light is used to structure space by emulating the way it delineates buildings, city blocks and streets. In this way Rackowe departs from the aesthetics of the use of light of American minimalists such as Flavin and Judd. By decoding these experiences his works capture the chromatic sensations of desolate streets at dawn, the atmosphere as daylight fades into night and the shadows created by obtrusive cranes, scaffolding and skeletal buildings. The resulting sculptures - striking geometric shapes and dramatic shafts of light - combine vivid beauty with the grimness of industrialisation, perhaps offering a true representation of the disparities of contemporary life. Nathaniel Rackowe had a major solo exhibition at One Canada Square in Canary Wharf in January 2016, followed by exhibiting outdoor work at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art in late 2016. Platonic Spin, an outdoor temporary public sculpture, was part of Lumiere London in January 2016. Solo exhibitions in 2017 have taken place at Galerie Jerome Pauchant, Paris, and Fold Gallery, London. In addition Rackowe has exhibited at MOCA Miami, Almine Rech in Paris, Lawrie Shabibi in Dubai, Galerie Jan Wentrup in Berlin, and the Grand Palais in Paris.