Elmgreen & Dragset @ The Fourth Plinth

Those of you used to the oversized boat in a bottle outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square would have noticed it’s recent replacement. Those of you who aren’t, no matter, I have all the need to know gossip about the 4.1m bronze boy who has charged onto the plinth on horseback and claimed the prized position.

The sculpture of the child on a rocking horse has been brought to London by Scandinavian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. The structure, which will remain on the plinth for one year ties in well with the surrounding military monuments. Powerless Structures, as the artists have named the boy and horse, has checked in to a year long stay aboard a space originally reserved for the architect Sir Charles Barry in 1841, most notable for rebuilding the Houses of Parliament. It is interesting that this years offering features a rocking horse as the original statue planned for the plinth was to be a bronze equestrian statue of King William IV, thus engaging with the original intention for the space.

Elmgreen and Dragset, who have been collaborators since 1995, are of Danish and Norwegian backgrounds and are based in London and Berlin. The artists often link together the concepts of architecture, art and design, which they certainly have done by placing a structure in such an iconic and heavily visited part of London. While I personally find it interesting that non British artists have been chosen to decorate the plinth during London’s Olympic year, the structure has a certain childish charm which cannot be faulted and compliments the history of London’s ever changing Fourth Plinth.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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