(Above) Katharina Fritsch would give the Fourth Plinth Hahn / Cock, a giant cockerel in ultramarine blue, as a symbol of "regeneration, awakening and strength" alongside allusions to male-defined British society and biological determinism
The eagerly-anticipated wannabe successors to Yinka Shonibare's bottle-captured miniature of Nelson's ship go on display in London today, starring sponge cakes, blue cockerels, fictional mountains and fetish-skewed equestrian statues.
Showing until October, the shortlist will be whittled down to one winner at the start of next year.
"The Fourth Plinth has become the most eagerly anticipated art commission in the country and these latest proposals show why," said Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
"Each of the artists has come up with a very different vision, their wit and originality offering a highly individual response to the historic backdrop of Trafalgar Square."
Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said the judges faced "a tough time" dissecting the designs.
"They are the work of an outstanding selection of artists and the Commissioning Group is very excited by their ideas," he added.
Puerto Rico-based pair Allora and Calzadilla present Untitled (ATM/Organ), a working ATM embedded within the Fourth Plinth which, when accessed, will trigger a functioning pipe organ, producing sounds which will reverberate throughout the Square.
Battenberg, by Brian Griffiths, is an outsized representation of the sponge cake, invented to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Victoria of Hesse to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. The work will be made from hand crafted Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary household bricks along with other traditional building materials.
Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset offer Powerless Structures, Fig.101, a brass sculpture of a boy astride his rocking horse, celebrates the heroism of growing up rather than war.
Hew Locke's Sikandar, a replica of the equestrian statue of Field Marshal Sir George White from Portland Place transformed into a fetish object, decorated with horse-brasses, charms, medals, sabres, ex-votos, jewels, Bactrian treasure and Hellenistic masks.
Mariele Neudecker concocts It's Never Too Late and You Can't go Back, a fictional mountainscape presenting two images of Britain: the flipped and reversed shape of the peninsula when from seen above and its more familiar outline when viewed from below.
On show until October 31 2010, 8am – 8pm (7pm Wednesday, 9pm Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm Sunday). Admission free.
See Culture24 next week for our review of the designs.