wed 26/02/2020

Art Gallery: Fourth Plinth Commission | reviews, news & interviews

Art Gallery: Fourth Plinth Commission

Art Gallery: Fourth Plinth Commission

A playfully subversive mood dominates this strong shortlist

1. Mariele Neudecker It’s Never Too Late and You Can’t Go Back
A fictional mountainscape which, when encountered from below, shows the outline of Britain. Neudecker’s work is inspired by the northern European Romantic sublime, and this rugged landscape suggests the work of both the English painter J M W Turner and German artist Caspar David Friedrich.

2. Alloria & Calzadilla Untitled (ATM/Organ)
A real ATM will be embedded within the Fourth Plinth. When you get your cash out, the huge church organ above (how we worship the green stuff) will produce sounds that will reverberate across the square. But just imagine the queues - and the frustration when it runs out of cash.

3. Brian Griffiths Battenberg
A big sponge cake will be constructed from Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary house bricks. Battenberg Cake was invented to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Victoria of Hesse to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Though it isn't much to look at, it’s a witty reference to the Royal Family’s German roots - and right in the middle of a square devoted to war statuary. Brilliant.

4. Elmgreen & Dragset Powerless Structures
A golden boy on a golden rocking horse, galloping to certain victory. A witty, joyously uplifting contribution by the Nordic duo. The sculpture, which will be cast in bronze, looks certain to be the popular choice. And why not? It hits all the right buttons for a playful contemporary public sculpture.

5. Hew Locke Sikandar
Another horse, though this one is making its point about our reformed notions of imperialism far more earnestly. Sikandar is a replica of the equestrian statue of Field Marshal Sir George White. Transformed into a fetish object, it’s exuberantly decorated with horse-brasses, charms, ex-votos, Hellenistic masks and medals. The work’s title translates as Alexander in Urdu; Khandahar in Afghanistan was one of the cities Alexander the Great, history’s greatest military hero, named after himself.

6. Katharina Fritsch Hahn/ Cock
A true blue cock of the walk: a giant cockerel in ultramarine blue will invite all sorts of knob references – but its size, once erected on to the plinth, will undoubtedly make it both an impressive and surreally unsettling sight.

The two winning commissions will be chosen by the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group and announced in spring 2011.

The Fourth Plinth is currently occupied by Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Boat, which will be taken down at the end of 2011.

  • For more information on past and present commissions visit the Fourth Plinth website
  • The six maquettes are on display in the foyer of St-Martin-in-the-Field, Trafalgar Square, until 31 October
Click on any picture to enter full view and the gallery:


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This looks so exciting.. Really like Marieles art, so outstanding!

to my mind the blue cock looks completely french - as a symbol. can't see the point of the boy on rocking horse, other than that there are some grown men on horses about the square. Was initially hostile to the battenberg, coz i'm fed up with art using recondite (or maybe not so recondite) historical symbolism. But like the variation in brick colour in the maquette. Feels quite London. Can see the point of 'sikander'. Prepared to be swayed by the organ and the mountains. It could all be a lot worse.

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