Katharina Fritsch unveiled her ‘Fourth Plinth’ commission in London’s Trafalgar Square this morning at 10:45 am. The 4.7m high sculpture titled ‘Hahn/Cock’ will occupy Trafalgar Square’s empty plinth for 18 months.
The sculpture was revealed in the presence of Mayor Boris Johnson who commented; ” In a few years time you will be unable to find this work of art when using google to search for its title”,due to this Conservative Government’s new legislation”
The Cockerel is fashioned from molded fibreglass, painted an intense ultramarine blue and contrasts sharply with the neutral tones of the local architecture.
‘As a platform for contemporary art, the Fourth Plinth has etched itself into the consciousness of people from across the world. Its position in Trafalgar Square encapsulates the collision of heritage and the cutting edge that make London such a dynamic and creative city. Katharina Fritsch commands tremendous respect internationally and her giant blue bird will provide a striking new focal as well as talking point for Londoners and tourists alike.’ Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most provocative contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England the programme invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the Capital City. The programme was initiated in 1998 by the RSA with the support of the Cass Sculpture Foundation. In 1999 responsibility for Trafalgar Square was transferred to the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority.
The Fourth Plinth Programme is led by the Mayor’s Culture Team, under the guidance of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group (FPCG). The FPCG recommends contemporary works for the Fourth Plinth. The first commission under the FPCG was Marc Quinn’s sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant, unveiled in a public ceremony in September 2005. It was followed by Thomas Schütte’s Model for a Hotel in 2007 and by Antony Gormley’s One & Other in 2009. Yinka Shonibare MBE’s sculpture Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle remained on the plinth until the end of January 2012. In November 2011 The Art Fund and the National Maritime Museum launched a public appeal to give the commission a permanent home at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Katharina Fritsch’s work follows Powerless Structures, Fig 101 by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. Previous commissions have been Ecce Homo by Mark Wallinger (1999), Regardless of History by Bill Woodrow (2000) and Monument by Rachel Whiteread (2001). Arts Council England has been a funding partner supporting the programme since 2003.
Katharina Fritsch was born in Essen, Germany and is one of today’s leading internationally recognised contemporary artists. She studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and has exhibited widely, particularly across Europe and the USA. She represented Germany at the 46th Venice Biennale and has been the subject of exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Krefeld, ICA London, Kunsthalle Basel, DIA Centre for the Arts New York, San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Tate Modern, K21 Kunstsammlung im Ständehaus, Düsseldorf, Kunsthaus Zurich, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Fritsch has participated in numerous international group shows including the Munster Sculpture Project, The Carnegie International Pittsburgh, 7th Lyon Biennale, 10,000 Lives: 8th Gwangju Biennale South Korea, ‘Illuminations’, 54th Venice Biennale, ‘Figure in the Garden’ in the Rockefeller Sculpture Garden MoMA, New York and currently her work is on show at K20 Düsseldorf. Her work is represented in many significant permanent collections including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, Schaulager, Basel, Glenstone Collection, Maryland, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen Düsseldorf and MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt.
Photos: © P C Robinson Artlyst 2013