Cockerels, cashpoints and cake next for fourth plinth

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Ever since Mark Wallinger's sculpture of Jesus Christ clad in a loincloth and crown of thorns was installed on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth, its revolving gallery of artworks has roused passions and stirred debate.

Yesterday, a humorous new mood seemed to have gripped the six artists shortlisted to have their work showcased in London's most visible gallery.

Some may have been left wondering how a model of a giant Battenberg or a pipe-organ-cum-ATM-machine could add to national debate, but they need not have worried.

It was clear that contenders for the plinth had, 150 years after it was built, discovered a more mischevious way to cock a snook at the establishment.

As a sculpture of a bright blue cockerel and another of a kitchy gold figure on a rocking horse vied with the cake and the cashpoint for the prestigious commission, even the judges saw the healthy helping of irreverent wit in the offerings. Ekow Eshun, chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said the humour was "no bad thing", adding: "We're trying to find works that can delight and surprise."

Katharina Fritsch, who was shortlisted for Hahn/Cock, an aquamarine cockerel sculpture, said the submission was "a play on the double meaning of the word". "We have admirals and generals there, and I wanted to look at the idea of an ironic male presence in Trafalgar Square," she said.

Brian Griffiths, said Battenberg – the cake created to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria's granddaughter – captured a "particular type of British humour".

Elmgreen and Dragset, who submitted a brass boy sitting astride a rocking horse, added that "the jury must have had a jolly good time".

The critic's view

Sikandar, by Hew Locke

Locke manages to provoke a mixture of joy and discomfort in his fetishistic sculptures which feature sorts of glittery, trashy junk inspired by carnival parades, Rococo and religious icons. His sculpture's relationship to Afghanistan, and war there past and present, makes monumental triumphalism appear alien and strange.

It's Never Too Late And You Can't Go Back, by Mariele Neudecker

German artist Neudecker has a wonderful handle on sculptural landscapes. Her mountainous plain made from part of a map of Britain might seem like a neat idea, but, for all the mountainous peaks in it, this proposal feels strangely flat.

Powerless Structures, by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset

Powerless Structures are a series of monuments to powerlessness – broken clocks, stairs impossible to climb or doors that are chained together so that you can't open one without closing the other. Here a golden boy rides on a rocking horse – a monument to the loveliest kind of powerlessness.

Hahn/Cock, by Katharina Fritsch

Fritsch often creates large sculptures of animals that look fuzzily soft but also vaguely nightmarish. Green elephants and groups of conspiratorial mice appear larger or brighter than life, alluding to their power in religious iconography or folk tales. This giant cock in punchy Yves Klein blue is possibly also a playful ridiculing of macho monuments – like a certain giant column a few metres away.

Untitled, by Jennifer Alloro and Guillermo Calzadilla

There is often an interactive element to this pair's work, and here the pipe organ plays sounds relating to the instructions given to the working ATM below. This feels like too much of a simple statement – a stab at our daily worship of market capital.

Battenburg, by Brian Griffiths

Griffiths's large bricky Battenberg cake fits right in with the artist's biscuit-tin, junk-shop aesthetic. It's a monument to the humble, the rundown and the slightly lumpy, which is the flip-side of the kind of grand Victorian monuments and buildings that have left their mark on the City of London.

Laura Maclean-Ferris

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
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.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering