Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Fourth Plinth time again..

Passing St Martin in the Fields the other day, I noticed that the Crypt is hosting an exhibition and consultation (until the end of October) on the next occupants of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

There are some ideas here I just don't get (a Battenberg cake made out of bricks? A giant blue cockerel, and the artist's description makes no reference to its associations with France - in Trafalgar Square?). The giant organ that's also a cash machine would be quite amusing at the Royal Exchange (by the Bank of England), or round the back of St Paul's, but is meaningless in Trafalgar Square.

So that leaves three contenders with some sort of relevance to the site. One at least allows for the fact that most people will see it from underneath - an outline of Britain with an idealised mountainscape on top; but generic mountains in a country that isn't very Alpine surrounded by buildings made from stone quarried mostly by the sea....?

The other two play with the images of military leaders all around the Square. A Victorian general submerged in other cultures' fetish symbols is a colourful comment on the sternly triumphant statues all around, but the idea looks very much like a continuation of the current model of HMS Victory with sails made of African cloth. Not that there's anything wrong in that, but perhaps it's time for a shift of emphasis. The golden child on a rocking-horse makes a striking and thought-provoking contrast - but something about it looks indefinably clumsy to me. What do you think?

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