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23 Feb 2012

Fourth Plinth unveiled

“The new commission for the Fourth Plinth, Powerless Structures, Fig. 101, by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, was unveiled today in London’s Trafalgar Square. Commissioned by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England, AlixPartners and Louis Vuitton, the 4.1m high golden bronze sculpture portrays a boy astride his rocking horse.

Built in 1841, the Northwest Plinth was originally designed to host a bronze equestrian statue of King William IV by Sir Charles Barry which was never installed. After more than 170 years, Elmgreen & Dragset have completed the process by presenting a new take on the tradition of equestrian statues, directly engaging with the history of the plinth itself.

The child is elevated to the status of a historical hero in line with the existing iconography of the other statues in the square.” (press release from Mayor of London’s office, 23 February 2012)

What is it with these grumpy old men up there on horseback? So begins Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset’s artists’ statement for Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square today. The 4.1 metre high bronze statue of a young boy stride a rocking horse has split opinion, but seeing it amid the grandiosity of the famous old plaza (and bearing in mind that the committee were never likely to choose something too edgy in the Jubilee/Olympics year) it’s a fun and interesting piece, with a concept that falls the right side of the simple/simplistic divide.” (Rob Anderson on It’s Nice That website, 23 February 2012)

Watch a video of the unveiling here:

British Actress Joanna Lumley unveils Elmgreen & Dragset’s Fourth Plinth Statue