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The new Fourth Plinth proposals have just been unveiled, and they're damn whacky

By
Eddy Frankel
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A photo posted by thomas rjb caron (@trjbc) on


It feels like only a few months since David Shrigley's massive thumb was unveiled as the latest Fourth Plinth sculpture in Trafalgar Square. That's because it really has only been a few months since David Shrigley's massive thumb was unveiled as the latest Fourth Plinth sculpture in Trafalgar Square.

Yet here we are, shivering and confused in the early morning January air, staring at some new proposals by a whole bunch of other artists for that coveted space, saying 'hold on, hasn't it only been a few months since David Shrigley's massive thumb was unveiled as the latest Fourth Plinth sculpture in Trafalgar Square? This seems awfully soon to be unveiling a new bunch of contenders for that coveted space, doesn't it?' Yes, it does.

But this morning, famed son-of-bus-driver/Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and a gaggle of important-looking art people whose names I can't remember because I don't care, ushered the cameras towards five new maquettes by five new artists. Out of these five proposals, two will be chosen to take the coveted space, one in 2018 and the other in 2020.

So what does Time Out's art editor think of these proposals? 'What are these, sculptures for ANTS?' he said groggily this morning. It was then explained to him that these were maquettes, scale models, not the actual things. He didn't finish the Zoolander quote, knowing full well that these were maquettes, obviously, he's the art editor. But in his mind, silently, he said 'they need to be at least three times bigger' and patted himself on the back for using a really clever cultural reference. It was metaphorical patting, in his mind, not actual patting. He was also aware that people who use that Zoolander quote when looking at scale models of things are the worst kind of people. He shook his head ruefully. Absolutely full of rue, really filled to the brim with rue.

Anyway, here are the contenders for that coveted space in Trafalgar Square.

This imposing sci fi-inspired figure by Huma Bhabha

Courtesy the artist. Photo by James O Jenkins

 This heap of trash (in a good way?) by Damian Ortega

Courtesy the artist. Photo by James O Jenkins.

 This ice cream ruined by flies and BIG GOVERNMENT by Heather Phillipson

Courtesy of the artist. Photo by James O Jenkins.

 Michael Rakowitz's recreation of a gorgeous ancient artefact destroyed by ISIS

Courtesy of the artist. Photo by James O Jenkins.

 This empty robe devoid of its wearer by RAQS Media Collective

Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery. Photo by James O Jenkins.

The proposals will be on display at the National Gallery until March 26. 

In other news, there are plans to regenerate the Undercroft skate park on the South Bank.

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