Ever wonder what happens to the high profile sculpture that graces the Fourth Plinth Commission in London’s Trafalgar Square? It’s out with the old and in with the new, in the ever rotating world of temporary public art. The last plinth commission, Elmgreen & Dragset’s golden boy on a rocking horse (Powerless Structures, Fig. 101) was removed last week to make way for Katharina Fritsch’s giant ultramarine blue cockerel. The four-metre-high bronze sculpture has been gracing the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square for the last 18 months. This contemporary version of a traditional equestrian statue, by the Danish/Norwegian artist duo is now on its way to Denmark, where it will become a new landmark of the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art.
Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle that bedecked the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth May 2010 and January 2012, has now found a permanent home – the National Maritime Museum in London. As a scaled-down replica of HMS Victory, this relocation makes thematic and historical sense. It stands outside the Maritime Museum’s new Sammy Ofer Wing, and is free for all. to enjoy.
In 1841 a traditional equestrian statue of King William IV was commissioned to stand on the plinth in Trafalgar Square. The statue was never finished and the plinth stood empty for more than 150 years, until eight years ago. The plinth is now used as a showcase for some of the most Avant Garde work in Britain today.
Thanks to a donation by ANNIE & OTTO JOHS. DETLEFS’ FOUNDATIONS OJD, the statue will now stand in front of the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art. ARKEN’s director Christian Gether says, “It’s a great honour to get the opportunity to show Elmgreen & Dragset’s wonderful, thought-provoking work at ARKEN. The artist duo long since broke through on the international art scene thanks to their uncompromising innovation and exceptional international standard. This is evident in their contemporary version of a traditional equestrian statue, which is both a new highlight of ARKEN’s collection and a gift to the museum’s visitors.” An homage to the future The traditional equestrian statues are known from the finest plazas of Europe’s capitals and usually celebrate powerful kings and conquerors. Elmgreen & Dragset’s monument, measuring an imposing 3.92 metres high and 4.2 metres long, is the direct opposite. Having no warlike vibe, it celebrates children, joy and the future. The sculpture will be installed in front of the main entrance to the museum, on a plinth as in Trafalgar Square. The new landmark will be the visitors’ first encounter with art when they arrive at the museum. The sculpture is expected to be installed during 2013.
Photos: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2012/13