Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in London

Powerless Structures, Fig. 101

Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 (Image Credit: Flickr User Magnus D)

The new commission for the Fourth Plinth, Powerless Structures, Fig. 101, by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, was unveiled recently in London’s Trafalgar Square. The child is elevated to the status of a historical hero in line with the existing iconography of the other statues in the square. Instead of acknowledging the heroism of the powerful, however, the work celebrates the heroism of growing up. The image of a young boy astride his rocking horse encourages viewers to consider the less spectacular events in their lives, which are often the most important. The sculpture invokes life’s everyday activities and questions the tradition of monuments predicated on military victory or defeat.

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. Instead of acknowledging the heroism of the powerful, however, the work celebrates the heroism of growing up. The image of a young boy astride his rocking horse encourages viewers to consider the less spectacular events in their lives, which are often the most important. The sculpture invokes life’s everyday activities and questions the tradition of monuments predicated on military victory or defeat.

In Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 there is not yet a history to commemorate – only a future to hope for. The boy’s features gently mimic the authoritarian pose often found in the tradition of equestrian statues, but his gestures represent pure excitement. There will be no tragic consequences resulting from his imaginary conquest.

Elmgreen & Dragset said, “Now that the sculpture is unveiled it is up to the public to love or hate it, hopefully not ignore it! The boy on his rocking horse will have a fascinating viewpoint throughout 2012 as Trafalgar Square will host all kinds of events; everything from school children dancing in pink leggings for Big Dance, to Chinese New Year or giant film screenings during the Olympics. Trafalgar Square is one of the liveliest parts of London – that’s what makes it so exciting for us and such a huge honour to show our work here.”

The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most thought-provoking contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England the programme commissions world-class artists to make challenging new works for the historic centre of the Capital. Bringing out the art critic in everyone, the Fourth Plinth Programme aims to trigger public debate about contemporary art in London’s public spaces. In 2010, over 17,000 people commented on the six shortlisted commissions for this year’s prize at the exhibition at St Martin-in-the-Fields and via the GLA website. The public can get involved in the debate on Facebook or via twitter @fourth_plinth

IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr User Magnus D
VIDEO CREDIT: ZCZ Films

 

RSS FEED EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION Follow Us on Twitter Join Our LinkedIN Group Become a Fan on Facebook Circle us on google+

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

MAGAZINE SPECIAL EDITIONS