Feathers Fly: Westminster Council Receives Objection To Fourth Plinth Blue Cockerel




The installation of a giant French blue cockerel which is scheduled to take pride of place on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in July, has received a formal objection. It was filed at Westminster Council, ahead of the final planning permission decision, on Tuesday. The plans for the sculpture were drawn up in 2010, and the rooster was picked as the plinth’s commissioned artwork for 2013. It replaces the giant golden boy on a rocking horse by Elmgreen and Dragset. Now Westminster planners must consider rejecting the installation of the giant blue bird, which measures 15ft (4.72m) high by 14ft (4.35m) long, because a pressure group says it is out of character with the historical architecture, in the surrounding area.

The sculpture, called Hahn/Cock, is a work created by the German artist , Katharina Fritsch. Councillor Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster City Council, said: “ it will cause quite a stir, particularly because it will be placed under the gaze of Admiral Lord Nelson. “However, I do wonder what Nelson’s reaction would have been after returning home from battle only to be greeted by the French emblem standing proudly in the centre of London.”

The objection has been made by The Thorney Island Society who urges that the application be rejected for the reasons described below.

“Further to receiving the planning application and documents, we have considered them and find the proposal to use the fourth plinth for a huge electric blue statue of a cockerel, to be totally inappropriate; however fanciful and dramatic it might appear to be A location such as Leicester Square, St Jame’s Park, or the South Bank in the context of the Festival Hall and the QEH could be acceptable.

We are all the more convinced of this opinion, having read the ‘Artist‘s Statement’. We cannot see any logical reason for the proposed sculpture to be placed on the fourth plinth. It is unrelated to the context of Trafalgar Square and adds nothing to it but a feeble distraction.The only tenuous argument put forward is the artist’s dubious claim that the “cockerel is a symbol for regeneration, awakening and strength”. More to the point is that the artist boasts it is seen as “a rude interruption to the grey formal architecture of the square”. This is neither a happy nor pleasing criterion for the use of this most significant location. We trust our observations and comments will be of assistance and ask that our comments be made known to the Committee.

Westminster Council has recommended the statues approval. A planning committee meeting will convene on May 7, and a final decision will be made at the meeting.  The statue will be on display from July 20 until February 2015.


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