Fourth Plinth Artist Hans Haacke Unveils Skeletal Horse Sculpture In March
Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke, a new commission for the Fourth Plinth, will be unveiled on Thursday 5 March 2015 in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Commissioned by the Mayor of London as part of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Programme, Gift Horse will be the tenth sculpture to be unveiled on Trafalgar Square’s celebrated plinth.
Gift Horse portrays a skeletal, riderless horse – a wry comment on the equestrian statue of William IV originally planned for the plinth. Tied to the horse’s front leg is an electronic ribbon displaying live the ticker of the London Stock Exchange, completing the link between power, money and history. The horse is derived from an etching by George Stubbs; the famous English painter whose works are represented in the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.
Born in Cologne, Hans Haacke lives and works in New York. For the last forty-five years Haacke has been examining the relationships between art, power and money, and has addressed issues of free expression and civic responsibilities in democratic societies in his work. He uses many different mediums, including painting, photography and written text. Some of his works are on-going processes and/or require active participation by the audience. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2014); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2012); MIT List Visual Arts Centre, Cambridge, MA (2011); X-Initiative, New York (2009); and Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2006). Haacke’s work has been included in four Documentas and numerous biennials around the world. He shared a Golden Lion Award with Nam June Paik for the best pavilion at the 45th Venice Biennale (1993), and in 2000 he unveiled a permanent installation in the Reichstag, Berlin.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: ‘Hans Haacke has produced a singular take on the traditional equestrian statue, based on an etching by the quintessentially British artist George Stubbs. Gift Horse is the tenth statue to occupy the Fourth Plinth and encapsulates the dynamic mix of history and the contemporary that makes London such an exciting and dynamic cultural capital. I am sure it will get people talking, as they have about the other nine statues that have gone before it.’
The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most talked about contemporary sculpture prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London, the programme invites world-class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the capital city. An established icon for London, it has been referred to as ‘the smallest but most prominent sculpture park in the world’.