Fourth Plinth: Katharina Fritsch

Art

Fourth Plinth

Until Fri Jul 25

  • Free

'Hahn/Cock' by Katharina Fritsch photo: Gautier Deblonde

Not yet rated

Be the first...

 
0

Reviews

Add +

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|4
1 person listening
Andrew North

Despite the cockerel being a national symbol of France, Katharina Fritschʼs 2013 public sculpture - titled ʻHahn/Cockʼ and depicting a giant dipped-blue cockerel, is far more a manifestation of the current English self than it first appears. The ultramarine blue cockerel standing to attention at 4.7 meters tall on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square is an immediate delight, in contrast to the heavy set sculptures surrounding it. The well scaled size and fibre glass material maintain its light hearted approach, both in appearance and concept. Joining the statues of King George IV, Horatio Nelson and other notable male figures, Fritschʼs Hahn/Cock (Hahn being German slang for penis) stands attentively on the plinth, lightly mocking its fellow statue companions in the square and impersonating the posing tourists seeking a picture in front of a national monument. The sculpture has the ability to do this firstly through the candid title of the work which is an attack, albeit a humorous one, on the male grandeur. Tradition has seen the male portraying the female through art, here Fritsch reverses the role to render a male (in the form of a cockerel) to make the statement from a feminist point of view. Secondly, the cockerel is seen as a symbol of male strength, with an attention seeking nature. The sculpture replicates this through its bold appearance and the proud pose it assumes on the plinth. The cockerel attempts to impersonate and ultimately belittle its compatriots in the square. In doing this, Fritsch questions how relevant and influential these figures are in relation to our current society. How do these figures shape our current national identity and should these male figures still stand in Trafalgar Square, proudly representing the English? It could be argued that the national identity of England is now a multicultural, liberal one and these long past figures only serve as a lead weight to tie down an ideology of Englishness. Similarly, one could argue that the national identity of England is becoming lost in a distant haze and therefore it is important to preserve such artifacts in order to keep this identity visibly present. The sculpture however, doesnʼt demand an answer from the viewer and one of the triumphs of the multifaceted work is its ability to create laugher at face value and/or create critical debate. The most humorous aspect of the work is the way Hahn/Cock belittles and mocks all others in the square whilst dressed in a ridiculously vibrant blue and rather lifeless fashion - one could not imagine the cockerel stepping off the plinth to roost in the National Galleryʼs rooftop, or bathe in the fountains below. The work therefore not only mocks all of those around it, but the cockerel also ridicules itself. Everyone is invited in to the square for a touch of light hearted, typical English humour, served up by the cockerel for the squares attendants, to then be retuned from the squares attendants back to the cockerel himself. This multi faceted sculpture, unveiled in the heart of the England, addresses many topics from feminism to cultural identity, all whilst maintaining a refreshingly light nature. The cockerel will stand on the plinth, awakening the senses of all who fill the square for the next 18 months.

Andrew North

Despite the cockerel being a national symbol of France, Katharina Fritsch’s 2013 public sculpture - titled ‘Hahn/Cock’ and depicting a giant dipped-blue cockerel, is far more a manifestation of the current English self than it first appears. The ultramarine blue cockerel standing to attention at 4.7 meters tall on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square is an immediate delight, in contrast to the heavy set sculptures surrounding it. The well scaled size and fibre glass material maintain its light hearted approach, both in appearance and concept. Joining the statues of King George IV, Horatio Nelson and other notable male figures, Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock (Hahn being German slang for penis) stands attentively on the plinth, lightly mocking its fellow statue companions in the square and impersonating the posing tourists seeking a picture in front of a national monument. The sculpture has the ability to do this firstly through the candid title of the work which is an attack, albeit a humorous one, on the male grandeur. Tradition has seen the male portraying the female through art, here Fritsch reverses the role to render a male (in the form of a cockerel) to make the statement from a feminist point of view. Secondly, the cockerel is seen as a symbol of male strength, with an attention seeking nature. The sculpture replicates this through its bold appearance and the proud pose it assumes on the plinth. The cockerel attempts to impersonate and ultimately belittle its compatriots in the square. In doing this, Fritsch questions how relevant and influential these figures are in relation to our current society. How do these figures shape our current national identity and should these male figures still stand in Trafalgar Square, proudly representing the English? It could be argued that the national identity of England is now a multicultural, liberal one and these long past figures only serve as a lead weight to tie down an ideology of Englishness. Similarly, one could argue that the national identity of England is becoming lost in a distant haze and therefore it is important to preserve such artifacts in order to keep this identity visibly present. The sculpture however, doesn’t demand an answer from the viewer and one of the triumphs of the multifaceted work is its ability to create laugher at face value and/or create critical debate. The most humorous aspect of the work is the way Hahn/Cock belittles and mocks all others in the square whilst dressed in a ridiculously vibrant blue and rather lifeless fashion - one could not imagine the cockerel stepping off the plinth to roost in the National Gallery’s rooftop, or bathe in the fountains below. The work therefore not only mocks all of those around it, but the cockerel also ridicules itself. Everyone is invited in to the square for a touch of light hearted, typical English humour, served up by the cockerel for the squares attendants, to then be retuned from the squares attendants back to the cockerel himself. This multi faceted sculpture, unveiled in the heart of the England, addresses many topics from feminism to cultural identity, all whilst maintaining a refreshingly light nature. The cockerel will stand on the plinth, awakening the senses of all who fill the square for the next 18 months.

Stuart Matthews

Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth has played host to a wide range of sculptures and art works over the last sixteen years, since conceived by the Royal Society of Arts. Ranging from a life sized figure of Christ (Mark Wallinger: ‘Ecce Homo’ 1999), to a ship in a bottle’ (Yinka Shonibare: ‘Nelson’s ship in a bottle’ 2012), and early this year a tall bronze sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse (Micheal Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset: ‘Powerless Structures, Fig. 101’ 2012). It’s now a common sight to see passersby caught looking in awe at these strange oddities. Visit anytime between now and 25th July 2014 to see perched tall and proud a 14 foot blue cockerel, the latest offering to grace the plinth. This bright blue ultramarine bird sculptured by the German artist Katharina Fritsch is titled ‘Hahn/Cock.’ Erected on 24th July the sculpture according to Fritsch symbolises regeneration, awakening, strength and well...man hood. While it might have ruffled the feathers of a few, some deeming it ‘totally inappropriate’ for its obvious French connotations, Lord Nelson and the passersby don’t seem to mind. Nevertheless it has made friends with the feathered residents of Trafalgar Square. Many pigeons roost and congregate around its feet. Accepting the strange blue bird into their flock as one of their own. ‘Hahn/Cock’ also comments upon male postering, and does so fantastically. Standing out amongst the unkept and dirty pigeons like a big blue beacon. Not a single tail feather is out of place. Appearance is everything, and rightly so as this contrast of appearance transcends to the streets amongst the well suited businessmen enjoying there weekday lunch break to the scruffy students wallowing beside the fountains. For all its cock like connotations and double entendres. ‘Hahn/Cock’ is a must see as its sure to bring a smile to your face, especially on those grey and gloomy days.

Stacey Cassie

I'm afraid this piece of art falls far short it's predesessors. A bright blue symbol of France in one of the UK's most iconic locations; the pigeons that the city has worked hard on relocating from the square flock underneath it as though it is their protector. One first glance, I presumed it was a "one off" placed there for some sports fixture and just kept walking, all other 4th plinth pieces have made me stop, look, wonder and feel some sort of emotion - but this just looks like a giant-scale plastic toy from a cereal packet. It doesn't even move me enough to dislike it.