The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

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The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:58 pm

Message in a big bottle - appeal to save fourth plinth HMS Victory

Campaigners want to save Yinka Shonibare's model of Nelson's flagship from Korean tycoon's garden and keep it at Greenwich


Maev Kennedy
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 November 2011 21.48 GMT


Yinka Shonibare's 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A public appeal has been launched to move the biggest ship in a bottle ever built from its plinth in Trafalgar Square, down the Thames to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich – thereby saving it from becoming a Korean millionaire's garden ornament.

Yinka Shonibare's scale model of Nelson's flag ship Victory, sails printed with African textile designs and flying flag signals from the Battle of Trafalgar including "engage the enemy closely", has proved one of the most popular of the fourth plinth sculpture commissions. Every cab driver knows it and has an opinion on it, mainly favourable, the artist said. It is due to come down in January, to be replaced by Elmgreen and Dragset's equally enormous golden child on a rocking horse.

The Art Fund charity, which has never before launched a campaign to acquire a contemporary work, has promised £50,000 to kickstart the effort to site the sculpture permanently outside the new wing of the Greenwich museum. The museum has both the largest Nelson collection – including the admiral's blood stained uniform from Trafalgar – and the largest ship model collection in the world. "This is a bargain price," Shonibare said, "a huge discount. I did have interest from a very wealthy South Korean, who would have put it in his garden – but I thought I would wait for a better offer."

The better offer was the chance of keeping it in the public domain, after the Maritime Museum expressed an interest in acquiring it permanently.

The full price to the public would be £650,000 – the Korean collector was willing to pay twice that – but a complicated formula offering tax concessions for museum acquisitions, and discounting the manufacturing cost which was paid by the Greater London Authority, brings it down by more than a third: a mere 70,000 text message donations at £5 each would cover the public appeal, said Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, sent a message of support: ''I would be thrilled to see it anchored permanently in Greenwich, at the epicentre of our great seafaring history."

The museum's share would be moving it, siting it – "it doesn't come with the plinth attached, unfortunately", director Kevin Fewster said – and working out a conservation programme to preserve it permanently in the open air.

So far it has survived Trafalgar Square's infamous pigeons remarkably well, and the portholes in the base hide airconditioning to stop the bottle, made from perspex by an Italian firm specialising in aquarium manufacture, from fogging up.

As with all of Shonibare's work it has many post-colonial allusions: the Turner prize nominated artist was born in London to Nigerian parents, and mainly brought up and educated in Lagos.

His trademark brilliantly coloured cloth, which he once festooned around the neck of the statue of Britannia seated on top of Tate Britain, was made in the west from imported cotton printed with imitation traditional African designs: he buys most of it in Brixton market, though for the sails he used traditional canvas hand printed with the patterns.

"This piece of art is a metaphor for cultural diversity," he said. Although it looks like a giant seaside souvenir shop ornament, it is a remarkably faithful model of Victory with 31 sails set and six furled as on the day of Trafalgar, built from traditional shipwright's materials. "It's also a wonderful bit of magic," Shonibare said, "everyone asks me how did the ship get into the bottle, but of course I never say."

The fact that the neck of the bottle was just large enough to allow his studio assistants to crawl inside may be a clue.


Last edited by eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:05 pm

Mayor announces Fourth Plinth 2012/13 Winners

In 2010 six internationally acclaimed artists were shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth Commission. The artists were invited by the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group to make maquettes for the public consultation phase of the commissioning process.

During the exhibition of the maquettes at St Martin-in-the-Fields, just off Trafalgar Square in central London over 17,000 members of the public commented on which artworks should be chosen for the 2012 and 2013 commissions.

At 10am on Friday 14 January 2011, Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced that Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 by Elmgreen & Dragset has been successfully commissioned for 2012 and Hahn / Cock by Katharina Fritsch has been commissioned for 2013.


2012 Winner:

Elmgreen & Dragset. Powerless Structures, Fig. 101

2013 Winner:

Katharina Fritsch. Hahn / Cock


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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:19 pm

Trafalgar Square fourth plinth art 'will cause arrests'

The artist Antony Gormley, who is behind the new work for Trafalgar Square's empty fourth plinth, has said he expected the piece to lead to arrests.


British artist Antony Gormley is seen with his design called 'One and Other' which has been chosen as the next temporary artwork for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in London Photo: AP

Daily Telegraph. 6:45AM GMT 27 Feb 2009

One & Other will see 2,400 people from across the UK invited to stand for an hour each on the plinth in the shadow of Nelson's Column in central London over 100 days.

Participants will be chosen at random from those who register on the project's website, and there will be no vetting process for applicants.

Organisers said that people will be free to use the plinth as a soapbox for any political views they liked, provided they remained within the law.

The "living sculpture" is the brainchild of Gormley, the creator of the Angel of the North, and he said the work was in part a celebration of civil liberties and he hoped people taking part would put on challenging performances.

"I would be very upset if somebody didn't take their clothes off," he said.

"They have got to stay within the law, but unless there's a degree of contradiction this (project) will have no teeth at all.

"I can imagine there will be occasions for arrests, and we have to deal with that when it happens.

"There will be self-selecting exhibitionists burning to use this for their acts, but there will be others who just want to be there to represent their communities just by standing.

"I really don't think that there is anything that people can do up there that is not acceptable."

The vacant plinth at the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square has hosted a rolling programme of temporary sculptures since 1998, including Mark Quinn's sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant.

Health and safety regulations mean the One & Other sculpture will include a safety net around the plinth, which stands around 10 feet high, and a team of six stewards will be on hand 24 hours a day to ensure that, for example, participants do not suffer the attentions of rowdy late-night revellers.

Nicky Webb, the director of Artichoke, the art charity behind the project, said the staff would help participants relax and prepare before going up on the plinth.

"Their job is to look after people, not only in terms of stopping people throwing kebabs at them but in other ways," she said.

Cameras on the structure will broadcast the performance live on the internet, 24 hours a day, and the Sky Arts channel will show a weekly round-up of highlights voted for by visitors to the site.

An equal number of men and women will be chosen to take part, and the whole UK population will be represented by choosing a proportion from each region.

Mr Gormley said: "In the context of Trafalgar Square with its military, valedictory and male historical statues, this elevation of everyday life to the position formerly occupied by monumental art allows us to reflect on the diversity, vulnerability and particularity of the individual in contemporary society.

"It's about people coming together to do something extraordinary and unpredictable.

"It could be tragic but it could also be funny."

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:23 pm


Marc Quinn "Alison Lapper Pregnant.

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:29 pm


Rachel Whiteread's Monument on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth.

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:32 pm


Bill Woodrow... Regardless of History on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:35 pm

^

Well? What would YOU put up there? cyclops

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  Constance on Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:58 pm

I'm just glad that none of these is in New York City.

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:17 am

I like the multicultural HMS Victory. Lord Nelson, it will be recalled, supported the slave trade, believing that its abolition would lead to "the ruination of the navy".

And Rachel Whiteread pulls off the same kind of spatial distortion she achieved in "House" (see thread) by exhibiting an inverted transparent replica of the plinth itself. Laughing Talk about "thinking outside the box". Nice one, Rachel.

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  Constance on Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:44 am

The Atlas sculpture in front of Rockefeller Plaza, across the street from St. Patrick's church.


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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:55 pm


Atlas statue, Portmeirion, Wales- where the cult 1960's series "The Prisoner" was filmed. I've got the box set of the series, and Atlas comes into shot every now and then.

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:41 pm

Will Self: why I hate London's Trafalgar Square

Controversial novelist Will Self thinks Trafalgar Square is an ultra-naff London landmark that would be improved with market stalls, cafes and Lord Nelson being cut down to size

guardian.co.uk, Friday 20 January 2012 22.45 GMT


Will Self thinks London's Trafalgar Square would be better with one of its lions upended. Photograph: Alamy

Without a shadow of doubt Trafalgar Square has to be one of the most crap urban public spaces in the world. The fact that massed divisions of tourists feel compelled to ritually promenade across its pigeon-shat-upon York stone and head-banging granite is perverse in the extreme, because it's not so much a place to hang out as somewhere you feel constantly in danger of being hung for treason, such is the discourse of power enshrined in its leonine and general-studded plinths and its admiral-spiked column.

True, the National Gallery makes a pleasing non-event horizon for the square as you enter it from Whitehall or the Mall; a long range of neoclassicism, with its Saracen's helmet dome, it's bare to the point of Moorishness. St Martin-in-the-Fields is also difficult to object to unless you've a perverse inclination against its unexceptionable architecture and illustrious history of beneficence.

However, surrounding the rest of it are tedious Edwardian-club-bore buildings – South Africa House, Canada House and the rest – that underawe with their weighty bombast.

There's this, and there's the perverse cant of the square, which rises south-west to north-east to form a raked stage upon which something ought to happen. What usually happens on it is that organs of the state corral one group of malcontents or other before hitting them with sticks, riding over them on horseback, and on one or two notable occasions – such as the original Bloody Sunday of 1887 – render some of them appropriately stone-dead.

Of course, barring the occasional demonstration, the Square doesn't have much happening in it at all, apart from full-grown Italian men with goatees climbing on to the backs of Landseer's lions, and giant Scandinavian teens rolling up their jeans and wading in the fountains until authority spurts them out.

Yes, yes, I know: mayors of all stripes put on concerts there, and also erect big screens on which events of some sort or other are displayed. I've seen this sort of carry-on when I cross the square – usually bottom-left to top-right – on my way to the opera, Soho and other more interesting destinations.

Trafalgar Square is so compellingly naff that it was the obvious location for that repulsive Olympic countdown clock – as it is annually for that enormous fir tree the Norwegian people insist on sending us – even though we've asked them very politely not to.

Who was it who said, "Corridors have become destinations"? Ah, yes, Rem Koolhaas in his seminal 2002 essay Junkspace – but he could've been talking about Trafalgar Square, at least since the completion of Admiralty Arch in 1912. Prior to that the square was … well, less square for a start. And it also had housing facing directly on to it – some distinctly ducal, such as Northumberland House, but others that were a recognisable part of the old bricky weave of London. It had housing, and even quite modest shops – now all that's left of the commercial activity that once gave the capital its distinctive street life is a Tesco Express, a Waterstone's and, further along towards Pall Mall, the offices of various implausible Central Asian airlines with names like GhengisAir.

Yes, once the Arch was overarching and the Mall came into being (prior to 1912 it was a long row of hedges), Trafalgar Square became a corridor that was a destination, by which I mean it was a site to be visited rather than lived in. Dead and about-to-be-married royals must be dragged through its environs as part of a kissing of the ritual stations of the state's holy cross – winning sports teams ditto.

Almost all attempts to gussy up the Square and make it more user-friendly – think the Fourth Plinth new sculptures, and the pedestrianisation of the northern side – are doomed to failure, precisely because of its bombast and the petrified generals laughing stonily in the face of anything light, frothy or fun.

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 …

Overall, think Marrakech's Djemaa el-Fna and you wouldn't be far wrong. Oh, and did I mention the weather?

Will Self's novel Umbrella will be published by Bloomsbury in August

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:27 pm

'Sensitive and fragile creature' unveiled on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth

Boy on a rocking horse, whose official name is Powerless Structures, Fig 101, is latest work to occupy plinth

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 23 February 2012 13.02 GMT


The 4.1m sculpture on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle / Rex Features

People will, the artists concede, either love or hate the two-tonne bronze statue of a boy on his rocking horse but anyone in Trafalgar Square over the next 18 months will not really be able to ignore him.

The 4.1-metre golden boy was unveiled on the fourth plinth on Thursday to whoops, aahhs and confused looks from foreign tourists in passing coaches. The reaction from Scandinavian artists Elmgreen & Dragset was one of immense relief.

"You're not allowed to make tests, so it is a bit of a gamble," said Ingar Dragset. "It's installed the night before – it's nerve-racking."

The boy's formal name is Powerless Structures, Fig 101, and he sits on top of a plinth designed to host a bronze equestrian statue of William IV by Sir Charles Barry, which was never installed.

More than 170 years later the boy becomes the latest in a series of contemporary art commissions that has included Marc Quinn's pregnant Alison Lapper and, most recently, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare.

The statue was unveiled by Joanna Lumley who said she was thrilled to be revealing what was a "completely unthreatening and adorable creature" to the public.

Lumley said the plinth was great because it gets people talking. "What I love about this plinth, which is extraordinary because it's empty, is that everybody is waiting to see what comes next … and everybody becomes an instant art critic. Everybody knows what should be there, what's better than last time, what's marvellous, what's wonderful, what's dreadful."

Michael Elmgreen said it was deliberate that you have to walk around the square to meet the boy's eyes and to see his expression – he is looking away from George IV "because he is afraid of him".

While the other statues in the square celebrate power, this work celebrates growing up. He is a "more sensitive and fragile creature looking to the future", said Elmgreen. The hope is that it might encourage people to consider less spectacular events in their lives, ones which are often the most important.

The fact that he's gold in colour was remarked on more than once. London mayor Boris Johnson said: "It seems fitting to have such a gleaming talisman to watch over our city during this fantastic Olympic year – it hopefully will bring us luck in the medal tables this summer."

Powerless Structures, Fig 101 will remain in place for around 18 months, replaced in 2013 by a giant blue cock – of the chicken variety – by German artist Katharina Fritsch.

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Re: The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

Post  eddie on Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:13 pm

Yinka Shonibare's ship in a bottle goes on permanent display in Greenwich

Artwork that won fans on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth is moved to new home after public help raise £362,500

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 April 2012 19.12 BST


Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, by Yinka Shonibare, on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Photograph: Geoff Pugh/Rex Features

Yinka Shonibare's ship in a bottle is to remain on public display in the UK after the success of a public fundraising appeal, it has been announced.

The work, a scaled-down replica of Nelson's ship Victory first seen on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, was this week being installed in its new home in Greenwich, outside the new Sammy Ofer wing of the National Maritime Museum.

The work was secured with the help of £264,300 in contributions from the public after the Art Fund launched an appeal last November. Shonibare said he was "absolutely delighted and touched by the public's generosity".

He added: "The piece was wholeheartedly embraced by the public while at Trafalgar Square and I am glad that the same affection for the work will continue at Greenwich."

The appeal for £362,500 was launched by the Art Fund after it gave a grant of £50,000. As well as the public money, both the National Maritime Museum and Shonibare's gallery, Stephen Friedman, gave £49,100. Overall, the work was valued at £650,000, but £140,000 of that – production costs – had been met by the Fourth Plinth programme and the gallery had given a 15% museum discount of £97,500.

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, 4.7 metres in length and 2.8 metres in diameter, goes on display in time for the museum's 75th anniversary on 25 April.

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said it had been the charity's first fundraising appeal for a contemporary work. "It is not an easy environment in which to run a campaign but the campaign's success is testimony to the popularity of Yinka's work and to the continued generosity of the many enlightened individuals upon whom the charitable sector depends."

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