There are four plinths on each of the corners of Trafalgar Square in central London. Three are in use and show statues of Henry Havelock, George IV and Charles James Napier. The fourth remained empty for over 150 years until 1999 when the plinth was used to display a series of contemporary artworks. The success of this initiative lead to a commission being formed to decide on a use for the plinth and it was decided to continue using it for the display of temporary works of art.
Now that the next installations have been announced, (Hans Haacke’s Gift Horse planned for 2015 of a riderless skeletal horse and David Shrigley’s Really Good – a bronze thumb’s up – planned for 2016), I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my favourite “Plinth” moments of recent years.
My favourite without a doubt was the Ship in a Bottle as that ship, was Nelson’s own HMS Victory (albeit with African print sails) and as a Pompey girl, you couldn’t really expect anything else, could you? It was created by Yinka Shonibare and was displayed fro 24th May 2010 to January 2012. It was 4.7 metres long and 2.8 metres in diameter. It was so popular, a public appeal was launched to raise money to purchase the piece to keep it in the UK and it is now displayed in Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum
I also liked the rocking horse sculpture which was installed from 23rd February 2012 – April 2013. It was in fact Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset’s Powerless Structures – a 4.1 metres tall bronze sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse, celebrating childhood. It is now at the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, home country of one of the artists.
My final choose is of course the current incumbent. For some reason, I just love it – a bright blue cockerel by Katharina Fritsch called Hahn/Cock, it was erected on 25th July 2013 and is now in residence. A 4.72 metres high blue sculpture of a cockerel intended to symbolise “regeneration, awakening and strength” – it reminds me of France obviously and tells me to “shake my tail feathers” occasionally and have fun!
Do you have a favourite?
Contributor: Sue Lowry
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