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Munich gets its very own Fourth Plinth (and you can live in it)

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Munich is to have its own Fourth Plinth. In a project commissioned by the maverick artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, a replica of Trafalgar Square’s spare pedestal has landed on Munich’s historic central Wittelsbacherplatz.

The new plinth, built by artists Stephen Hall and Li Li Ren, is the same as the UK original with one difference - you can live in it.

As in London, various artists were invited to submit proposals but Alexander Laner won, with his habitable “social sculpture.”  The Munich artist spotted that while the replica plinth has a real stone façade, it is hollow and made of breeze blocks. “It did not make sense to me put something on top of the plinth – that would be the 19th-century way of doing it. It was important for me to treat the plinth differently, to penetrate it, be a little bit rude.”

Inside, “the space is a little bigger than a VW camper van”, he adds. A door on the side will lead into a “fully furnished” living space including bed, stove and emergency toilet. There will be a solar panel for light, but no electricity or water. A skylight leads to a “roof terrace” with garden, table and chairs on top of the plinth, visible to the public.

“I decided to treat the space like a real estate developer”, says Laner. “It’s about every city that has too little space and how the gaps are transformed. In Munich we have WW2 bunkers being made into luxury flats. It’s about cultural heritage.”

"Better Living" opens on 6 June for three months. Laner will advertise for tenants, who will live rent-free in the space, on local property pages and websites. “I’m not sure how many applicants we’ll get”, he says. Will he spend a night there? “I can’t avoid it. My four-year old son is going crazy for it. He keeps asking me when we move in.”

Also in the arts diary:

Torycore: The death metal band that growls and screams through George Osborne's Budget speech

The fantastic fox family; and stitching up the critics