Six entries have been shortlisted this week to be the next sculpture on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth – ‘probably the most important single public sculpture in Europe’ (Hew Locke).
You can see a photo gallery with some critical comments here at Time Out, and some extra shots of the models with their artists here at the Guardian. And you can visit the models themselves at St Martin-in-the-Fields church crypt foyer from now until 31 October.
I like the blue cockerel for visual impact and fun; the mountainous map of Britain because I love maps and mountains (and I like the way it simply doesn’t fit on the plinth). But I’m persuaded by Adrian Searle that the rocking horse child should be the clear winner:
Elmgreen & Dragset‘s golden boy on a rocking horse is by far the best. Like Fritsch’s cockerel, but unlike Locke’s work, it avoids being kitsch. The simplified detail and expression feel just right. Leaning back and with one arm raised aloft, he’s more than a toy boy. This is the child as hero of the battles of his imagination.
There’s something poignant but unsentimental about the relationship the sculpture will have with all those sombre bronze generals on the other plinths.
Golden boys don’t always grow up to be heroes. They might end up cannon fodder or unemployed, or fighting only private wars against the world. It’s a rich sculpture, playful but also serious. This is the one.
But they might grow up to be heroes, or ruthless leaders. So this isn’t just about innocence and unknowing – it’s also about the quiet genesis of war and violence, from the playroom to the battlefield.