Several prominent figures including Mayor Boris Johnson and Lord Norman Tebbit have called for a permanent statue of Baroness Thatcher to be erected on the Fourth Plinth site in Trafalgar Square. The statue would be insensitively located on the site of the violent 1989 Poll Tax Riots, which caused such controversy and division in this country.
The Fourth Plinth programme is one of the most high profile art events in London. Its succession of Avant Garde artworks ‘sees everybody becomes an instant art critic’; The sculptures have been well received and popular with the public bringing out a cultural feel-good factor for everyone. If this proposal gets the green light London will lose one of the most important venues for the promotion of contemporary art in the capital.
For the last 13 years, the empty ‘fourth plinth‘ in Trafalgar Square has rarely been seen empty. It is an original ongoing arts programme which has seen eight sculptures occupy the stone pedestal. The first sculpture to be chosen was Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant. It was a powerful image of the heavily pregnant disabled artist rendered in Italian Marble. The comission has also seen a ship in a bottle, a boy on a rocking horse and even the public had there say with One and Other the Antony Gormley piece, which invited hundreds of people to create their own work of art on-top of the granite slab. Other artists who have exhibited on the fourth plinth include: , Elmgreen & Dragset, (current) Yinka Shonibare, Thomas Schütte, Mark Wallenger and Rachel Whiteread.
The Fourth Plinth provides a unique international platform for some of the world’s finest contemporary artists, allowing them to comment on London and the world we live in. Elmgreen and Dragset’s current commission maintains all the joy, intrigue and depth that we have come to expect, and gives a timely visibility to the place in our society. The scrapping of this popular project will create further devision by replacing the fourth plinth with a statue of Thatcher. This sculpture commission could very well lead to a Baghdad style statue toppling …Get your shoes ready.