Antony Gormley leads Fourth Plinth practice in Trafalgar Square

By Culture24 Staff | 15 May 2009
A picture of people standing in front of a statue on a square

Antony Gormley meets applicants for his One & Other Fourth Plinth Project for ‘plinth practice’ in Trafalgar Square. Photographer: David Parry

It’s had everyone from radio soap stars to amateur wrestlers competing for a place - but today Antony Gormley’s bold plan to put the people of Britain on the Fourth Plinth of Trafalgar Square took a step closer to becoming a reality.

To celebrate the large number of applications already received (10,692 and counting) Gormley was at Trafalgar Square at 9.00 am for a "Plinth Practice" for people to try out ideas for different activities on the plinth.

All kinds of homemade plinths, from a picnic rug, crates and a knitted plinth appeared.

Participants in the dry run included Gormley, the jazz vocalist Cleveland Watkiss and English National Ballet dancer Anna Forbes and, in keeping with the artist’s stated aim of providing a portrait of Britain, there was an assortment of people ranging from a Morris dancer to a poetry-writing lawyer.

a photo of a man in white jeans sat on the base of Nelson's column with a group of strangely attired people standing behind him

Antony Gormley meets applicants for his One & Other Fourth Plinth Project for ‘plinth practice’ in Trafalgar Square. Photographer: David Parry

For Gormley, there is of course another meaning to the project: “Through putting a person onto the plinth, the body becomes a metaphor, a symbol,” he said when launching his idea in February 2009.

“In the context of Trafalgar Square with its military, valedictory and male historical statues, this elevation of everyday life to the position formerly occupied by monumental art allows us to reflect on diversity, vulnerability - particularly of the individual in contemporary society.”

One of today’s participants, artist Tom de Freston, captured that vulnerability very well by appearing in his underpants, whilst Antony Pace, a computer analyst was splendidly attired as Where’s Wally.

a phto of a female dancer striking a dancers pose

Anna Forbes, a dancer for English National Ballet limbers up for a place on the plinth. Photographer: David Parry

Antony Gormley's One & Other, a project for the Fourth Plinth, will run from July 6 - October 14 2009.

Visit www.oneandother.co.uk to take part or send a large SAE with stamps to the value of £1.08 to One & Other, c/o Artichoke, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London, E1 6AB.

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