• Fourthplinth

    Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 (left) and Hahn / Cock (right)

Fourth Plinth

Posted by Will Hudson,

At the end of last week the decision on the fifth and sixth installations at Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth were announced and with it a bronze sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse and massive blue cockeral. The first installation, Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 is due to be installed in 2012 and is designed by Danish artist Michael Elmgreen and Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset and depicts a boy on a rocking horse representing hope for the future. Hahn / Cock (the blue cockerel), by German artist Katharina Fritsch symbolises regeneration, awakening and strength and will replace the former in 2013.

The shortlist for the illustrious prize including six submissions from artists including submissions from Allora & Calzadilla, Elmgreen & Dragset, Katharina Fritsch, Brian Griffiths, Hew Locke and Mariele Neudecker.

Powerless Structures, Fig. 101

The website goes on to explain, “In this portrayal of a boy astride his rocking horse, a child has been elevated to the status of a historical hero, though there is not yet a history to commemorate – only a future to hope for. Elmgreen & Dragset’s work proposes a paraphrase of a traditional war monument beyond a dualistic worldview predicated on either victory or defeat. Instead of acknowledging the heroism of the powerful, Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 celebrates the heroism of growing up. It is a visual statement celebrating expectation and change rather than glorifying the past”. There’s also this YouTube video of the pair discussing the piece.

Based in London and Berlin, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have worked together as an artist duo since the mid-1990s. Their work explores issues relating to contemporary modes of living and investigates how these are reflected in both the everyday designs that surround us and in our urban landscapes.

Hahn / Cock

“An enormous blue cockerel by German artist Katharina Fritsch, called Hahn / Cock, is to be the next commission and will replace Elmgreen and Dragset’s installation in 2013. The sculpture, a larger than life cockerel in ultramarine blue communicates on different levels. First of all is the consideration of the formal aspect of its placement: the mostly grey architecture of Trafalgar Square would receive an unexpectedly strong colour accentuation, the size and colour of the animal making the whole situation surreal or simply unusual. The cockerel is also a symbol for regeneration, awakening and strength and finally, the work refers, in an ironic way, to male-defined British society and thoughts about biological determinism”. There is also this YouTube Video of Katharina talking about the piece.

Born in 1956 in Essen, Germany, Katharina Fritsch lives and works in Dusseldorf. Her sculpture plays on the tension between reality and apparition, between the familiar and the surreal or uncanny. Her iconic images, installations and sound works imprint themselves of the viewers mind. Singular forms are often used repeatedly to create a psychotic proliferation.

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Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.