New sculpture for the 'Fourth Plinth'

January 24 2012

Image of New sculpture for the 'Fourth Plinth'

Picture: James O jenkins, via

A reader has alerted me to the new 'Fourth Plinth' commission, by Scandinavian art duo 'Elmgreen and Dragset'. 'Powerless Structures' will be unveiled next month. Here's the blurb:

The child is elevated to the status of a historical hero in line with the iconography of the other statues in the square. Instead of acknowledging the heroism of the powerful, however, the work celebrates the heroism of growing up and questions the tradition of monuments predicated on military victory or defeat. There is not yet a history to commemorate here – only a future to hope for.

I'm looking forward to seeing it - it looks like a nice piece of sculpture. Coincidentally, Will Self had a piece in The Guardian recently called 'Why I hate Trafalgar Square'*, in which the only thing he likes about the Square is the Fourth Plinth idea:

Of the recent Fourth Plinth sculptures only Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant has gone any way towards bending the square's rectilinear rigidity. With its subversion of the conventionally standardised representations of the body the square specialises in, and its bright white marble – the albedo of which attracted a good proportion of the flying rats – Quinn's statue made a stab at the flinty heart of the Brit establishment.

Unfortunately it couldn't possibly penetrate far enough. What's needed are cafes all over the gaff, open-air and serving excellent espresso; top-notch strolling and – unlicensed – buskers; Horatio's nob chopped off halfway down; at least one of the lions upended; an open-air market; some good ethnic food stalls; and possibly a snake charmer or 20.

My favourite Fourth Plinth piece so far was Mark Wallinger's Ecce Homo - a quite brilliant work which suited the scale of the Square perfectly. But I have a faint hope that the plinth will one day have a permanent statue of the Queen on it.  

* I thought only The Daily Mail began articles with 'Why I hate..'?

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