News / Art

Fourth Plinth winners announced as Michael Rakowitz and Heather Phillipson


Michael Rakowitz: The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist


Heather Phillipson: The End

The winners of the Fourth Plinth commissions for 2018 and 2020 have been announced as Michael Rakowitz and Heather Phillipson. Michael’s sculpture will be installed on London’s iconic Trafalgar Square monument first, replacing David Shrigley’s Really Good thumb with The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist – a recreation of an artefact destroyed by Isis.

The sculpture by the American artist will take the form of Lamassu, a winged bull and protective deity sculpture that stood at the entrance to Nergal Gate of Nineveh from 700 B.C. In 2015 it was destroyed by Isis along with other artefacts in the Mosul Museum. It will be made of empty Iraqi date syrup cans “representative of a once-renowned industry decimated by the Iraq Wars”. Listen to an interview with Michael on the It’s Nice That podcast about public art here.

Heather’s sculpture The End will take its place on the plinth in March 2020. The surreal and stylised sculpture by the British artist depicts a dollop of whipped cream with an assortment of toppings: a cherry, a fly, and a drone. The drone films passers-by and displays them on an attached screen, exploring topics of surveillance and shared experience in the context of a public square. Its precarious nature also “becomes a monument to hubris and impending collapse” says the artist.

Justine Simons, London’s deputy mayor for culture and creative industries, says the two works are “hugely contrasting” and “stand out for their visual impact as well as their unique ability to make the viewer stop and think”.

Read more about the other shortlisted artists here.


David Shrigley: Really Good


James O Jenkins: Heather Phillipson with her proposal


James O Jenkins: Michael Rakowitz with his proposal