Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Fourth Plinth

So, we now know what the next two occupants of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square will be. The 2012 winner is a child on a rocking horse, titled "Powerless Structures" by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. The 2013 winner is a giant blue cockerel by Katharina Fritsch titled "Hahn/Cock". Neither of these would have been my choice. I favoured either "It's Never Too Late And You Can't Go Back" by Mariele Neudecker or the ludicrously outrageous "Battenberg" by Brian Griffiths, a huge, brick , copy of the pink and yellow cake of the same name.

Although the fourth plinth was never used for its original purpose, it has, in recent years, been used to display a variety of artworks with varying degrees of success. Of these, perhaps the most widely reported was “One and Other”, devised by Antony Gormley. Over the course of 100 days, 2400 members of the public each spent 1 hour isolated on the plinth. The hour was theirs to do, pretty much, whatever they liked. Some used it to protest or to draw attention to a cause. Some to talk about their favourite subjects. Others behaved outrageously and some did nothing at all. An interesting idea but was it art? Also, and perhaps this was just my bad luck, I always seemed to see the ones who either did nothing at all or were so badly prepared that they may just as well have been doing nothing at all!

To my mind, the most successful occupant of the plinth was "Alison Lapper Pregnant" by Marc Quinn. A challenging and powerful figure that I grew to like very much.

Going back to the residents for 2012 and 2013. Aside from a certain amount of comedy value, a rocking horse and a big blue cock do nothing for me, but I can’t help thinking that had the artists had got together and found a way to combine the two, that they just might have been on to a winner!


  1. I voted for "It's Never Too Late..." I really liked that it was Britain upside down. I'd never heard of a Battenberg cake, but thought that one was amusing. I thought the rocking horse and the blue cock were the worst of the lot, but I imagine there will be much punning about the latter.

  2. Great idea!
    Would it be mechanical or have some kind of natural rhythm?

    I don't think that any of the six choices were suitable though i do hope that one day there's an opportunity to view the bejewlled fella on a horse at full size, because I think he'd look stunning. But not on a plinth in Trafalgar Square... all those chains would get really messy and be too much of a temptations for vandals.

  3. I've been walking around all day with the notion of a cocking horse in my head but I've not really worked out either the aesthetic or the techy details. As someone with no inherent natural rhythm I would probably have to go for the mechanical solution, clockwork perhaps, or should that be cockwork?

    Just a might be nice to have it on display in Banbury at some point........but that's another story!