Marc Quinn's sculpture, Alison Lapper Pregnant, is unveiled today, Thursday 15 September 2005, at a public ceremony in Trafalgar Square by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. The sculpture will remain on the Fourth Plinth for 18 months.
Alison Lapper Pregnant is a portrait of disabled artist Alison Lapper when she was eight months pregnant. It has been carved from white Carrera marble in Pietrasanta, Italy; weighs thirteen tonnes and will stand 3.55 metres high. It is one of two artworks selected for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square from an original shortlist of six other artists in March 2004 and endorsed by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. The second work, Thomas Schütte's Hotel for the Birds, will be installed in April 2007.
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: 'Marc Quinn has created an artwork that is a potent symbol and is a great addition to London. It is a work about courage, beauty and defiance, which both captures and represents all that is best about our great city. Alison Lapper Pregnant is a modern heroine - strong, formidable and full of hope. It is a great work of art for London and for the world.'
Sandy Nairne, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group that chose the work, said: 'This is one of the most important public art commissions in recent years. It is an exciting work for Trafalgar Square and the Fourth Plinth and an outstanding achievement by Marc Quinn. Although crafted in the ancient quarries in Italy, Alison Lapper Pregnant is a sculpture for our own time which will be compelling for millions of people.'
Marc Quinn, artist, said: 'I regard it as a modern tribute to femininity, disability and motherhood. It is so rare to see disability in everyday life – let alone naked, pregnant and proud. The sculpture makes the ultimate statement about disability – that it can be as beautiful and valid a form of being as any other.'
Sarah Weir, Regional Executive Director, Arts Council London, said: 'The Fourth Plinth is one of the most important and vital public art commissions in the UK. The Arts Council is committed to promoting art in the public realm and is pleased to have given financial support to ensure this vital first round of commissions. We look forward to seeing an ongoing programme of exciting, imaginative and stimulating work on the Fourth Plinth and are proud to be a part of the project.'
The Fourth Plinth has been supported by Arts Council England, Arup Associates, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Haran Glass, Hare Structural Engineers, Moose Foundation for the Arts, the Trafalgar Hilton and the Independent on Sunday.
Notes to Editors
The Fourth Plinth Programme is led by the Culture Team in the Mayor's Office working with the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group (FPCG), who recommend contemporary works for the Fourth Plinth.
Every 18 months, a new piece of artwork will be commissioned for the Fourth Plinth. Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant is the first of these installations under the auspices of the Mayor of London.
Under the Greater London Authority Act the Mayor, on appointment in June 2000, assumed responsibility for Trafalgar Square. The Fourth Plinth Programme is a key part of the Mayor's vision for Trafalgar Square to be a vibrant, public space and to encourage debate about the place and value of public art in the built environment.
The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group is:
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery
Michaela Crimmin, Head of Arts, RSA
Diane Henry Lepart, Merchant Banker
James Lingwood, Director, Artangel Trust
Sunand Prasad, Architect, Partner in Penoyre and Prasad
Richard Reiser, Disability Advisor
Jon Snow, Broadcaster
Sarah Wason, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council England, London Office
Sally Williams, Freelance Consultant, Public Art
Bill Woodrow, Artist (previously exhibited Regardless of History on the Fourth Plinth)
For more information and pictures contact:
Sue Davies on 020 7582 0994 / 07753 963 209 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 / 07881 501 920 / Ben.Mcknight@london.gov.uk.
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