The Art of the Fourth Plinth

The Art of the Fourth Plinth

What is the Fourth Plinth?

The Fourth Plinth isn't the name of a gallery; instead, it's the name of the empty plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. It was built in 1841 and originally meant to hold an equestrian statue of William IV, but this never happened due to insufficient funds and the plinth stood empty for many years. Now, the plinth is used to display contemporary art. In 2005 British artist Marc Quinn created ‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’ for the plinth - the subject of our new release. Watch Esme to discover how this marble statue sought to challenge the history of public sculpture with its representation of both pregnancy and disability.   

2022's Fourth Plinth

That the Fourth Plinth has a new artwork. As with ‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’, the latest artwork to adorn the Fourth Plinth also uses its prominent location to depict those largely under-represented in history. Antelope by Malawi-born Samson Kambula is a bronze statue based on a 1914 photograph of the preacher and activist John Chilembwe alongside his (white) friend John Chorley. Chilembwe wears a hat in the presence of a white man: a deliberate act of defiance in Malawi at the time when the country was under British colonial rule. In the statue, Kambula has repositioned the two men and made Chilembwe much larger than Chorley, to symbolise the gravity of Chilembwe’s act and his importance to the history of Malawi's independence.

Don't Miss...

Can’t get enough of sculpture in London? Then make sure you head to Regent’s Park to see Frieze Sculpture 2022, which is on until the 13th November. One of our favourites to see is Shaikha Al Mazrou’s ‘Red Stack’: it appears to be a giant stack of red pillows, only on closer inspection do you realise that it is made of metal. This contrast between hard and soft forms is fundamental to her work, and we loved it on sight.

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