Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

Latest fourth plinth sculpture unveiled

  • Date: 20 February 2012
  • Area: London
Powerless Structures, Fig. 101, by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset

Powerless Structures, Fig. 101, by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. Credit: James O Jenkins

The new commission for the Fourth Plinth, Powerless Structures, Fig. 101, by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, was unveiled today in London's Trafalgar Square.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England, AlixPartners and Louis Vuitton, the 4.1m high golden bronze sculpture portrays a boy astride his rocking horse.

Built in 1841, the Northwest Plinth was originally designed to host a bronze equestrian statue of King William IV by Sir Charles Barry, which was never installed. After more than 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.

The child is elevated to the status of a historical hero in line with the existing iconography of the other statues in the square. Instead of acknowledging the heroism of the powerful, however, the work celebrates the heroism of growing up. The image of a young boy astride his rocking horse encourages viewers to consider the less spectacular events in their lives, which are often the most important. The sculpture invokes life's everyday activities and questions the tradition of monuments predicated on military victory or defeat.

Moira Sinclair, London Executive Director of Arts Council England, said:

'The Fourth Plinth provides a unique international platform for some of the world's finest contemporary artists, allowing them to comment on London and the world we live in. Elmgreen and Dragset's new commission maintains all the joy, intrigue and depth that we have come to expect, and gives a timely visibility to the place of the very young in our society. I hope Londoners take it to their hearts.'