A towering grain silo filled with plants, the reimagining of a 1914 photograph of pan-Africanist John Chilembwe and a work made from the casts of faces of 850 trans people are among the new proposals for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth revealed today. Models by Nicole Eisenman, Samson Kambalu, Goshka Macuga, Ibrahim Mahama, Teresa Margolles and Paloma Varga Weisz are on display at the National Gallery from 24th May to 4th July 2021 and available to view online, with the public encouraged to share their views.
The National Gallery opened again to the public last week and members of the public are encouraged to visit to see the models as part of the Mayor of London’s Let’s Do London campaign which encourages Londoners and visitors back into central London as it re-opens safely.
“These proposals from our most international line-up of artists to date shows yet again why the Fourth Plinth is the world’s most high-profile public art prize. As we emerge from lockdown, I’m encouraging Londoners and visitors to come back to the city through my Let’s Do London campaign, so do come and see this great exhibition at the National Gallery.”The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
The new proposals are:
- The Jewellery Tree by Nicole Eisenman recreates the household object on a monumental scale, with Lord Nelson’s medals, a fife and drum and a plastic coffee lid
- Antelope by Samson Kambalu restages a 1914 photograph of Baptist preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley. Chilembwe wears a hat in an act of defiance as this was illegal at the time.
- GONOGO by Goshka Macuga is a giant rocket encouraging audiences to look beyond our own immediate surroundings and up to outer space
- On Hunger and Farming in the Skies of the Past 1957-1966 by Ibrahim Mahama recreates a grain silo partially built by Eastern European architects in Ghana in the early 1960s in a towering structure filled with living plants
- Improntas (Imprint) by Teresa Margolles features casts of the faces of 850 trans people, most of whom are sex workers, arranged round the plinth in the form of a Tzompantli, a skull rack from Mesoamerican civilisations
- Bumpman for Trafalgar Square by Paloma Varga Weisz is a figure inspired by the German “Wundergestalt” tradition and the spirit of German folklore
The public are invited to have their say about the proposed artworks online. This will help inform the decision of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group who will choose two winning sculptures to be announced in late June. The new sculptures will be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in 2022 and 2024 respectively, following on from the current sculpture THE END by Heather Phillipson, which will remain until September 2022.
“The Fourth Plinth is one of the most unique artistic commissions in the world, and we are proud to be collaborating with the Mayor’s culture team to bring its history and new shortlist to a global audience. Exploring past commissions, and this year’s shortlist in a unique way online or in AR, will inspire us to see the real thing very soon.”Amit Sood, Director of Google Arts & Culture
This year, in a new partnership with Google Arts & Culture, audiences can explore more about the history of the Fourth Plinth, previous commissions and explore the new shortlist through an innovative immersive online experience at Google Arts & Culture: g.co/fourthplinth.
The Fourth Plinth is one of the most important art commissions in the world. Funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the programme invites world-class artists to make new works for Trafalgar Square. An established part of London’s public landscape, it brings out the art critic in everyone and will be available on the Bloomberg Connects app later this year, a free app that allows users to access museums, galleries, and cultural spaces around the world anytime, anywhere.
The Fourth Plinth Commission Shortlist, Annenberg Court, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN 24th May – 4th July 2021 Free admission by appointment