Battle of Trafalgar: Contemporary artists submit proposals for Fourth Plinth

Gyrating cones and horse skeleton among shortlisted works

A former Turner Prize winner is to go head to head with this year’s favourite to create the latest work to be displayed on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square.

The Fourth Plinth Commissions have attracted submissions from some of the most established British and international artists, and the plinth is currently occupied by a giant blue cockerel.

The six shortlisted sculptures for the next two commissions were unveiled in central London today and include gyrating cones, a giant aluminium mask and the replica of a Yorkshire rock formation.

Mark Leckey, who won the Turner Prize in 2008, is among the artists competing, as is David Shrigley, who is the bookies' favourite to win the contemporary art prize this year. Turner Prize winners to display work on the Fourth Plinth in the past include Mark Wallinger and Rachel Whiteread.

Click here for images of Fourth Plinth contenders

Ekow Eshun, the chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: "You try and find some of the most important artists working in Britain and internationally for the plinth. The fact we have had Turner Prize winners involved is a reflection of that."

Shrigley’s proposed work for the Fourth Plinth is titled Really Good and is the bronze cast of a huge hand doing a thumbs-up, in the trademark style of an artist known for his humour.

It is designed to make Trafalgar Square, the UK and the world "a better place. And it would be quite a cost-effective way of doing it," the artist said, adding it would be a "really big deal" to display his work in such a notable space.

"The meaning is quite oblique. I don’t want my work to be super readable, but it is a satire on the politics of civic sculpture," he said.

The artist, who was born in Macclesfield and lives in Glasgow, added that the sculpture, with its thumb stretching 10-foot high, "will become a self-fulfilling prophecy; that things considered bad, such as the economy, the weather and society, will benefit from a change of consensus towards positivity".

Mr Eshun said: "David Shrigley is having a very good year, but it's not like he has come out of nowhere. A successful artist can make any complex idea look simple and that’s what he does. He makes a complex idea simple and amusing."

The artist himself could not put his finger on why everything has come together for him in the past 12 months.

"I'm now 45," he said. "Maybe that’s the age of maturity for an artist. You accept all these things and try and enjoy them."

Leckey's work, called Larger Squat Afar, is an amalgam of elements found in other statues in the space, and the name itself is an anagram of Trafalgar Square.

British artist Marcus Coates presented a work replicating a stone outcrop in Yorkshire, Germany’s Hans Haacke is a skeleton of a horse with a ribbon on its leg showing the live ticker from the London Stock Exchange while Ugo Rondinone from Switzerland’s work is a huge "moon" mask in aluminium.

A model of 'Gift Horse' by Hans Haacke A model of 'Gift Horse' by Hans Haacke Liliane Lijn, an American working in London, has created The Dance, kinetic cone sculptures that would be the first moving pieces to make the plinth should her proposal be successful. Ms Lijn said: "After 50 years of kinetic sculpture it was about time we had something moving on the plinth."

Mr Eshun said: "This reflects the continuing ambitions for the Fourth Plinth. We feel we have established one of the most significant international public art commissions in the world.

"All the artists here have responded in different and unique ways and the singular depth from their careers. We’re very proud of the work here."

The public will now be able to respond to the work and the submissions will be taken into account by the Commission Group. On the last consultation there were about 17,000 responses from the public. The first sculpture will go up in 2015 and the second 18 months later.

Mr Eshun said: "These six artists responded with real depth, imagination and insight. It is a very difficult commission. It is a public space, a busy space, and now it has a history of previous commissions. So each artist has to respond to the past and look to the future."

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk