a tale of a few cities

Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig. 101 Unveiled

Posted in architecture, Art, artists, Installation, Photography, pictures, Public Art, Sculpture by petercombe on February 23, 2012

Artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset have become the latest contemporary artists to unveil a public sculpture on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. ‘Powerless Structures, Fig. 101’ depicts a classically proportioned young boy atop a flat rocking horse.

The plinth, built in 1841, was originally designed to host a bronze equestrian statue of King William IV designed by architect Sir Charles Barry.  Organisers said that, after 170 years, “Elmgreen & Dragset have completed the process by presenting a new take on the tradition of equestrian statues, directly engaging with the history of the plinth itself”.

Michael Elmgreen (Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (Norway) are a collaborative artist couple who live and work together in Berlin. Their work often takes the form of a wittily subversive intervention or mise-en-scène. They are critical of contemporary art institutions, and restrictive viewing of the white cube viewing space. The duo have held solo exhibitions at galleries including the Serpentine and Tate Modern, in London, and The Power Plant, in Toronto.  As a duo, the artists – who will exhibit at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in autumn 2013 – are known for works including Prada Marfa, a full-scale replica of a Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert.  

Although I like Elmgreen & Dragset’s work, I wish Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s proposal had been chosen. Their’s featured a working cash machine embedded within the plinth which, when accessed, would have triggered a functioning pipe organ set on top of the plinth, to play throughout Trafalgar Square.

Elmgreen & Dragset’s Powerless Structures, Fig 101, replaces Yinka Shonibare’s large-scale Nelson’s Ship In A Bottle.

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[youtube http://youtu.be/watch?v=dLGj7lxwjNk&w=720&h=450]

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