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Going up? Fourth Plinth contenders unveiled

20 January, 2017 — By Tom Foot

High Way by Damián Ortega, and, right, The End by Heather Phillipson. Images: James O Jenkins

A CELEBRATION of mass protests and a scoop of ice cream covered in bugs are among the new proposals for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Maquettes of contenders for were unveiled yesterday (Thursday) and will be on display in the National Galley until March 26.

Two of the works by Huma Bhabha, Damián Ortega, Heather Phillipson, Michael Rakowitz and Raqs Media Collective will replace David Shrigley’s seven-metre-high Really Good in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

Ekow Eshun, chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: “The strength of the work displayed underlines the Fourth Plinth programme as a leading public art commission on the international cultural landscape. Debate is at the heart of the programme, and the commissioning group look forward to hearing the public’s thoughts on the proposals.”

Funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England, the programme invites world-class artists to make works for Trafalgar Square.

Untitled by Huma Bhabha is described as an imposing figure, reflecting a modern comic sci-fi movie. High Way by Damián Ortega is a playful and precarious construction of a truck, oil cans, scaffold and a ladder, while The End by Heather Phillipson is described as a celebration to mass protests observed through a drone’s camera. The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist by Michael Rakowitz is a “recreation of the Lamassu, a winged bull and protective deity, which was destroyed by Isis in 2015”. The Emperor’s Old Clothes by Raqs Media Collective explores how power can be both present and absent in sculpture.

The winners will be announced in March.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted to see that the shortlisted commissions are not just from the UK but from around the globe, a clear sign that London is open to creativ­ity. The Fourth Plinth reflects the best of London in so many ways – it is inventive, pioneer­ing, surprising and a source of delight, discussion and debate for millions of Londoners and visitors from across the world.”

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