Sadiq Khan, The Mayor of London, has announced the six artists who have been shortlisted for Trafalgar Square’s future Fourth Plinth commissions: They are: Nicole Eisenman, Samson Kambalu, Goshka Macuga, Ibrahim Mahama, Teresa Margolles and Paloma Varga Weisz.
The shortlisted artists’ proposals will go on show at the National Gallery
The shortlisted artists’ proposals will go on show at the National Gallery from late-May to July this year and will also be available to view online. A virtual tour of the exhibition will be created in partnership with Google Arts & Culture. The public will be invited to have their say about the proposed artworks, which will inform the decision of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group when selecting the two winning sculptures.
The two winning commissions will be announced this summer and will be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in 2022 and 2024 respectively, following on from the current sculpture THE END by Heather Phillipson, which will remain until September 2022.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am delighted to announce the shortlist of artists for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. The number of international artists shortlisted shows that London continues to attract leading creative talent from across the globe. The Fourth Plinth is one of the flagship contemporary art commissions in the world and I look forward to seeing how these artists will transform it. I hope Londoners continue to show their support for our arts and cultural sector in these challenging times by visiting the National Gallery and the viewing the exhibition online, from May.”
Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: “Today we announce an array of international artists who have been invited to propose artwork for the iconic Fourth Plinth. I’m excited by the imaginative range and creative ambition that each artist will bring to the project and very much look forward to seeing how they will respond to the space, which remains the most important public art commission in the world.”
Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of The National Gallery, said: “The Fourth Plinth is located just a few yards from the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, and I am delighted that we can host the exhibition of the shortlisted artists’ proposals in the Gallery. I think it is important that we find ways to encourage the public to look at and become interested in art, whether it’s the great pictures in our museums or new art in public spaces.”
The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most popular public art project in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England, the programme invites world-class artists to make new works for the centre of the capital city. An established icon for London, it brings out the art critic in everyone.
The programme was initiated in 1998 by the RSA with the support of the Cass Sculpture Foundation for the following commissions: Ecce Homo by Mark Wallinger (1999), Regardless of History by Bill Woodrow (2000) and Monument by Rachel Whiteread (2001). In 1999 responsibility for Trafalgar Square was transferred to the Mayor of London and the Fourth Plinth Programme is now led by the Mayor’s Culture Team, under the guidance of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group.
Nicole Eisenman’s artwork explores the human condition in her critically acclaimed, wide-ranging prints, paintings, drawings, and mixed-media works. Influenced by the expressionists and impressionists as well as figures such as Pablo Picasso. Her works are populated with emotionally resonant, cartoonish figures, formed out of exaggerated, painterly lines and intense colours. Having established herself as a painter, Nicole Eisenman has also expanded her practice into the 3-D.
Nicole Eisenman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her work was included in both the 2019 Venice Biennale and the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Other recent exhibitions include Baden Baden Baden, at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany; Dark Light, at Vielmetter Los Angeles; Dark Light, at Secession in Vienna, Austria (2018); Al-ugh-ories, at the New Museum, New York; and Magnificent Delusion, at Anton Kern Gallery, New York (2016). Nicole Eisenman is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018.
Samson Kambalu’s often irreverent fusion of social, national, and artistic tropes and identities is intentionally mischievous and provocative. His aim is to skew our reading of cultural behaviour and customs and to seek out the areas where humanity meets. The artist grounds his multi-media practice in Nyau culture – a secret society of the Chewa tribe, Malawi, which is especially known for its ritual mask performances. Kambalu’s ‘Nyau Cinema’ is characterised by spontaneity, playfulness, and a non-linear approach to time.
Samson Kambalu was born in 1975 in Malawi. He lives and works in Oxford where he is an Associate Professor of Fine Art and fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford University. Kambalu featured in All the World’s Futures, the 56th Venice Biennale. His work has been included in numerous international exhibitions and projects including the Dakar Biennial (2014 and 2016); Tokyo International Art Festival (2009) and Liverpool Biennial (2004 and 2016). He has had solo exhibitions at PEER Gallery, London; Mu.ZEE, Ostend, Belgium, (2020); Whitechapel Gallery, London; Logan Centre, Chicago; NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Miami; Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany, (2016).
Goshka Macuga began making art in the late 1990s. She works across mediums, incorporating archival materials, historical images, and other artists’ works into her own to explore new narratives and relationships. Archival research informs Macuga’s installations, which engage with the historical and social contexts of the host institutions or environments she is working within. Each project begins with a period of comprehensive research in their collections and archives.
Born 1967 in Warsaw, Poland, Goshka Macuga lives and works in London. She has exhibited widely, recent exhibitions include Exhibition M, commission for the Museum of Modern Art, New York, U.S.A (2019); Intellectual Co-Operation, Neues Musuem, Nürenberg, Germany (2018); Goshka Macuga & Ahmet Ögüt Episode 2, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands; The Enigma of the Hour, Freud Museum, London, Perpetual Movement, Contemporary Art, dance and ideas, The Lowry, Manchester (2017). Her work is held in the Arts Council Collection.
Ibrahim Mahama uses the transformation of materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalisation, and economic exchange. Often using found materials and giving them new meaning. Frequently working collaboration with others, his large-scale installations employ materials gathered from urban environments, such as remnants of wood, or jute sacks which are stitched together and draped over architectural structures.
Ibrahim Mahama was born in 1987 in Tamale, Ghana. He lives and works in Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale. His work has appeared in many international exhibitions including NIRIN, 22nd Biennale of Sydney, tomorrow, there will be more of us, Stellenbosch Triennale, Cape Town (2020); Future Genealogies, Tales From The Equatorial Line, 6th Lubumbashi Biennale, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Parliament of Ghosts, The Whitworth, University of Manchester, UK 2019; the inaugural Ghana pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale (2019) and Documenta14 , Kassel, Germany and Athens. Between 2019-20, Mahama opened the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA), and its sister organisation Red Clay, in the Northern Region of Ghana.
Teresa Margolles is a conceptual artist, photographer, videographer, and performance artist. Her works investigates the social and aesthetic dimensions of conflict, creating sculptural installations, photographs, films, and performances imbued with material traces of death. The source of her work comes from morgues themselves, which she transforms into sensory experiences that provoke a feeling of memory to the audience. As an artist she researches the social causes and consequences of death. Her work defies normative boundaries to catch the viewers’ attention to invoke accountability.
Originally trained as a forensic pathologist Teresa Margolles has exhibited extensively as an artist for more than two decades, both in Latin America and abroad. She represented Mexico at the 53rd Venice Biennale in with What Else Could We Talk About? and received a special jury mention for her work at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. Other recent exhibitions include En la Herida, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems, Austria; You fall in line or they put you in line (Te alineas o te alineamos), BPS22 Musée d’art de la Province de Hainaut, Charleroi, Belgium; LA CARNE MUERTA NUNCA SE ABRIGA, Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile (2019; Estorbo, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia; Sutura, Francuski Paviljon, Zagreb, Croatia, which travelled to daadgalerie, Berlin, Germany (2018); and a new work by Teresa Margolles, Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Paloma Varga Weisz
Paloma Varga Weisz works primarily as a sculptor and as a draughtswoman; producing intricate carvings and small scale, mythical watercolour works. Classically trained in Bavaria, Varga Weisz was taught traditional techniques of woodcarving, modelling and casting before attending art school in Düsseldorf in the 1990s. Varga Weisz’s handmade woodcarvings are heavily textured and tactile, and frequently probe traditional approaches towards display. Her figures, both sculptural and illustrated, are often laden with personal and collective motifs, where oddities of form are common fare: anthropomorphic figures, hybrid forms, or figures verging on the grotesque.
Born 1966 in Mannheim, Germany, Paloma Varga Weisz lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. Previous exhibitions include Animalesque/Art Across Species and Beings, Bildmuseet Umea, Sweden and travelled to Baltic, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead. Root of a Dream, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2015); Kabinettstück, Fürstenberg Zeitgenössisch, Donaueschingen, Germany (2016) and Bumped Body, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2020). In 2017 Paloma Varga Weisz won Holbach-Award, in 2007 the Marianna-Werefkin Award, in 2004 the Art and Sponsorship Award and gained a Bremerhaven-Fellowship back in 2000.
The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group Includes:
Iwona Blazwick – Director of Whitechapel Gallery, Mick Brundle – Principal, Arup Associates, Jeremy Deller – Artist Elvira Dyangani Ose – Director, The ShowroomEkow Eshun – Writer, Broadcaster (Chair) Priyesh Mistry – Associate Curator, Modern and Contemporary Projects, The National Gallery Eleanor Pinfield – Director, Art on the UndergroundJustine Simons – Deputy Mayor, Culture and Creative Industries Matthew Slotover – Co-director, Frieze Jon Snow – Broadcaster Sabine Unamun – Acting Director, Visual Arts and Museums, London, Arts Council England