Shortlist for new Fourth Plinth arrival announced

By Ben Miller | 19 July 2010
A photo of two men sitting either side of a stone sculpture of a man

(Above) Would-be Fourth Plinthers Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset

Six sculptors from the US, Cuba, Germany, Edinburgh and London will vie to fill the nation’s most high-profile statue spot when the shortlisted proposals for the latest arrival on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth go on display next month.

The chosen entrants include Puerto Rico-based pair Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, whose recent solo shows at the Whitechapel and Serpentine galleries have cemented their reputation for minimalist, creepy installations, first highlighted in shows at London's Lisson Gallery as long ago as 1993.

A black and white photo of a man and a woman

Jennifer Allora was born Philadelphia and Guillermo Calzadilla was born in Havana, but they both now live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Fellow duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset are currently participating in the Hayward Gallery’s New Décor show (see our review), and Brian Griffiths' prolific forays have seen the Royal Academy Schools teacher take monkeys, spacemen and utopian visions across major UK venues during an endlessly imaginative career.

Two German artists, Mariele Neudecker and Katharina Fritsch, have both made the cut for their investigations into the surreal and sublime. Neudecker has played on the relationship between landscapes and human psychology during visits to Tate St Ives and Tate Britain, and Fritsch uses apparitions to create a "psychotic proliferation".

A photo of a woman in a flowery shirt staring into the camera

Dusseldorf's Mariele Neudecker currently
works in Bristol

The Scottish representative on the list also needs little introduction to British audiences, although Hew Locke spent his formative years in Guyana after moving from his Edinburgh birthplace at the age of seven.

Locke is notable for his obsessive preoccupation with casting depictions of the Royal Family in materials such as flowers and waste, having initially gained prominence for a cardboard maze he created at the Chisenhale Gallery in 2002.

A black and white photo of a woman in profile

German artist Katharina Fritsch's work "plays on
the tension between reality
and apparition"

The six artists will have their designs unveiled in an exhibition at the crypt of St Martins in the Fields on August 19, with a panel including Whitechapel Director Iwona Blazwick, broadcaster Jon Snow and Grayson Perry picking the winner.

London Mayor Boris Johnson will announce the chosen one in early 2010, replacing current incumbent Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle on the hallowed Plinth at the end of 2011.

A black and white photo of a man holding a cup

Brian Griffiths

“It’s that time again when the art world braces itself for a spurt of bold ideas,” blustered a typically ebullient Johnson, lauding the Plinth as “surely the premier public art spot in Britain.”

“This is the chance for today's most exciting artists to create something in one of the most historic and traditional settings imaginable.

“We can only guess what they will come up with, but I have no doubt it will get everyone talking.”

A photo of a man with impressive facial hair

Edinburgh's Hew Locke spent 14 years in Guyana

Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said the Fouth Plinth campaign had established “an international reputation.”

“The Commissioning group is excited by this strong shortlist, which represents leading artists from different nations,” he added.

“We look forward to revealing their proposals for the plinth to the public next month.”

A photo of a large scale bottle with a ship inside on top of a stone plinth in a square

The winner will succeed current
Plinth star Yinka Shonibare's Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle

Previous orders for the Plinth have welcomed work by Rachel Whiteread (2001), Bill Woodrow (2000) and Mark Wallinger (1999).

The first new commission under the auspices of the Mayor of London's command was Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant statue in 2005, followed by Thomas Schutte’s Model for a Hotel (2007) and Antony Gormley's One and Other (2009).

Fourth Plinth Programme: Six new proposals, Crypt foyer, St Martins in the Fields, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, August 19 – October 31 2010.

Open 8am-8pm (7pm Wednesday, 9pm Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm Sunday). Admission free. Follow Culture24 for full coverage of the Plinth programme.

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