London in the United Kingdom is a city famed for its historic beauty as well as its modern skyscrapers. With red phone boxes and quaint street lights on cobbled streets aplenty, there are photo opportunities everywhere for the inspired traveller or local alike. An estimated 30 million tourists visit London each year, making it one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations. With plenty of free museums and art galleries, as well as theatre shows in the West End and famous dining and shopping experiences, it’s no surprise tourists flock to the UK capital in droves.
Whilst many of the national art galleries and museums may be free to enter, it can still be a hard task to connect the general public to contemporary art. With that in mind, the fourth plinth in the iconic Trafalgar Square has been commissioned once again to bring art into public space for the people. Only a few minutes walk from Buckingham Palace and the Queen herself, the fourth plinth is situated outside the National Gallery. Although first built in 1841, the project ran out of funds and no monument was ever completed for the plinth. It wasn’t until 1998 that the Fourth Plinth’s rolling commission was implemented.
At first the domain of the Royal Society of Art, the commissions for the Fourth Plinth were taken over by the Mayor of London’s office from 1999 onwards. The plinth has seen many groundbreaking and controversial works including a giant blue cockerel that have pushed the boundaries of what a public sculpture can be. The current installation is of an oversized giant ice cream sculpture, perched alluring on the fourth plinth, just beginning to melt in the sun. The sculpture is called ‘THE END’ and is by the artist Heather Phillipson.
There are six artists whose work has made the new shortlists for the 2022 and 2024 commissions. The lucky artists are Nicole Eisenman, Ibrahim Mahama, Teresa Margolles, Goshka Macuga, Samson Kambalu and Paloma Varga Weisz.