The short-list to produce the next two artworks for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2015 and 2016 includes Marcus Coates, Hans Haacke, Mark Leckey, Liliane Lijn, Ugo Rondinone and David Shrigley. The two selected artists will be announced by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in early 2014.
Proposed Materials: concrete based resin, fibreglass, steel
Trafalgar Square is almost entirely fashioned from stone, sourced from all over Britain and manipulated into buildings, pillars and statues by the will of architects, designers and sculptors. Marcus Coates plans to contrast these symbols of rational progress with a huge replica of a gritstone outcrop created hundreds of millions of years ago in Yorkshire by the natural forces of ice, wind and rain. Its form suggests a face or a bird, as we automatically try to make sense of the organic shapes that emerge and retreat as we walk around it, and invest it with human qualities or mythical powers. It would be a monument to non-human creativity and a totem of timeless, irrepressible powers.
Marcus Coates was born 1968 in London where he lives and works.
Instead of the statue of William III astride a horse, as originally planned for the empty plinth, Hans Haacke proposes a skeleton of a riderless, strutting horse. Tied to the horse’s front leg is an electronic ribbon which displays live the ticker of the London Stock Exchange. The horse is derived from an etching by George Stubbs, whose studies of equine anatomy were published the year after the birth of the reputedly decadent king, whose statue was abandoned due to a lack of funds. Haacke’s proposal makes visible a number of ordinarily hidden substructures, tied up with a bow as if a gift to all.
Hans Haacke was born 1936 in Cologne, Germany. He lives and works in New York.
Mark Leckey – Larger Squat Afar
Proposed Material: fiberglass laminate
I believe the proposal reflects how we now approach the world in the 21st century. Because of current technology, objects and artefacts are no longer these fixed, permanent things. Instead we look at any sculpture, object or image and ask, what can I do with that? How can I change it to suit my desires?’
Larger Squat Afar is an anagram of ‘Trafalgar Square’, and Mark Leckey’s chimera is itself an amalgam of elements lifted from all the statues found in the square. Details of James II, the water fountain, Admiral Jellicoe and the plinth itself are enmeshed into a single figure, which, while appearing absurd illustrates the compound history of both people and place. Fabricated using 3D laser scanning and printing technology, Larger Squat Afar embodies the power of the digital to overcome the physical and to fulfill the more monstrous capacities of the human imagination.
Mark Leckey was born in 1964 in Birkenhead, UK. He lives and works in London.
Proposed Materials: Brushed anodised aluminium
Rather than one imposing sculptural object, Liliane Lijn’s proposal The Dance features the complex changing relation between two apparently identical objects. The cone is a ubiquitous abstract form that occurs in mathematical, mythical and astronomical systems. Here the cones also relate to the spire of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, while their gleaming metallic surfaces recall the machinery of space travel. Once The Dance begins, formal geometry gives way to sensual movement and we become mesmerised by the energy of the interaction.
Liliane Lijn was born 1939 in New York. She lives and works in London.
Proposed Materials: Aluminium, steel
Ugo Rondinone’s MOON MASK, modelled expressively by hand, enlarged, cast in aluminium, and fixed to a pole, would be an abstract sentinel facing out over the square. MOON MASK seemingly refers to many visual traditions – perhaps the folk art of an ancient clan or early 20th century Cubism, which was itself influenced by African tribal masks – and yet it makes no specific claims for its origin. The eventual work would inspire free association, its three window-like apertures suggesting portals through which cultural references and individual emotions can tumble at will.
Ugo Rondinone was born in 1964 in Brunnen, Switzerland. He lives and works in New York.
Proposed Material: Bronze
A giant hand in a thumbs-up gesture, and with a really long thumb at that, must mean that something, somewhere, is really good. But what is that something and where is it? Is it Trafalgar Square? Or all of London? Or maybe the artwork itself? And if it’s so good, why is that? Who says so? And will we agree?
Really Good would be cast in bronze with the same dark patina as the other statues in the Square, the comic extension of the thumb bringing it up to ten metres in height. Shrigley’s ambition is that this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy; that things considered ‘bad’, such as the economy, the weather and society, will benefit from a change of consensus towards positivity.
David Shrigley was born in 1968 in Macclesfield. He lives and works in Glasgow.