elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse fourth plinth commission
 
elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse   fourth plinth commission
feb 23, 2012

elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse fourth plinth commission

‘powerless structures, fig. 101’ by elmgreen and dragset photo © james o jenkins

the fourth plinth is said to be the most thought provoking contemporary art prize in the UK. funded by the mayor of london with support from arts council england, the programme commissions international artists to make challenging new works set for placement in the british capital’s trafalgar square.

the northwest plinth, in which the selected projects are displayed, was built in 1841 and was originally intended to host a bronze equestrian statue of king william IV by sir charles barry, but it was never installed. today marks the official unveiling of the latest commission for the fourth plinth. conceived by danish and norwegian artistic duo elmgreen and dragset, the monument recalls this historic account and presents a new take on the tradition of equestrian statues with ‘powerless structures, fig. 101’. the 4.1 metre high sculpture, depicts a young boy mounted on his rocking horse, one hand securely holding the handle of his toy, while the other waves triumphantly in the air, captured in an authoritarian pose. cast in bronze, the giant work of art is elevated to the status of a historical hero, aligning with the existing iconography which is already present through other effigies in the high trafficked plaza. through the young boy, elmgreen and dragset celebrate the heroism of growing up, rather than the heroism of the all-conquering and powerful individual, which is typical of these types of monuments. he sits high in the heart of london, encouraging viewers and passersby to consider the less spectacular events in their lives, which often end up being the most memorable or important.

see designboom’s coverage of the other fourth plinth shortlisted proposals here.

elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse   fourth plinth commission the statue depicts a young boy astride his rocking horse photo © james o jenkins

elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse   fourth plinth commission ‘powerless structures, fig. 101’ mounted on the northwest plinth within london’s trafalgar square photo © james o jenkins

elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse   fourth plinth commission the head of the young boy being worked on at the AB fine art foundry photo © gautier deblonde


behind the scenes with elmgreen & dragset at AB fine art foundry

elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse   fourth plinth commission ‘powerless structures, fig. 101’ maquettes, 2012 photo © james o jenkins

elmgreen & dragset: boy on rocking horse   fourth plinth commission michael elmgreen and ingar dragset photo © james o jenkins

the fourth plinth commissioning group: ekow eshun – writer, broadcaster (chair) jo baxendale, relationship manager, visual art, arts council england iwona blazwick – director of whitechapel gallery mick brundle – principal, arup associates jeremy deller – artist tamsin dillon – head of art on the underground, transport for london grayson perry – artist matthew slotover – co-director, frieze jon snow – broadcaster justine simons – greater london authority (director, fourth plinth programme)

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