Katharina Fritsch artwork to be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth

20 June 2013

The new commission for the Fourth Plinth, Hahn / Cock by artist Katharina Fritsch will be unveiled on Thursday 25th July in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London as part of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Programme, the 4.7m high sculpture will occupy Trafalgar Square’s empty plinth for 18 months.

Born in Essen, Germany, Katharina Fritsch is one of today’s leading internationally recognised contemporary artists. She studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and has exhibited widely particularly across Europe and the USA.

She represented Germany at the 46th Venice Biennale and has been the subject of exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Krefeld, ICA London, Kunsthalle Basel, DIA Centre for the Arts New York, San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Tate Modern, K21 Kunstsammlung im Ständehaus, Düsseldorf, Kunsthaus Zurich, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Fritsch has participated in numerous international group shows including the Munster Sculpture Project, The Carnegie International Pittsburgh, 7th Lyon Biennale, 10,000 Lives: 8th Gwangju Biennale South Korea, ‘Illuminations’, 54th Venice Biennale, ‘Figure in the Garden’ in the Rockefeller Sculpture Garden MOMA, New York and currently her work is on show at K20 Düsseldorf.

Her work is represented in many significant permanent collections including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, Schaulager, Basel, Glenstone Collection, Maryland, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen Düsseldorf and MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “As a platform for contemporary art, the Fourth Plinth has etched itself into the consciousness of people from across the world. Its position in Trafalgar Square encapsulates the collision of heritage and the cutting edge that make London such a dynamic and creative city.

“Katharina Fritsch commands tremendous respect internationally and her giant blue bird will provide a striking new focal as well as talking point for Londoners and tourists alike.”

Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: “Katharina Fritsch is one of the major German artists of the past 30 years and we are honoured to have such a significant work in London. The Fourth Plinth is enormously popular in London and respected internationally and we are delighted that it continues to generate significant debate.”  

Joyce Wilson, Area Director London, Arts Council England said: “The Fourth Plinth is one of the most significant art commissions in the country and offers an enormous opportunity for public engagement with the arts. Arts Council England supports work that is challenging, captivating and independent with the potential to reach new audiences wherever they may be. The Fourth Plinth places art at the centre of London life and enriches the cultural life of the capital. Long may it continue.”

The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most high profile and provocative contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England it commissions world-class artists to make challenging new works for the historic heart of the capital.

Bringing out the art critic in everyone, the Fourth Plinth Programme aims to trigger public debate about contemporary art in London’s public spaces. In 2010, over 17,000 people commented on the six shortlisted commissions at an in at St Martin-in-the-Fields and via the website, resulting in this latest commission. www.fourthplinth.co.uk

Notes to editors

The Fourth Plinth Programme - The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most provocative contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England the programme invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the Capital City.

The programme was initiated in 1998 by the RSA with the support of the Cass Sculpture Foundation. In 1999 responsibility for Trafalgar Square was transferred to the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority. The Fourth Plinth Programme is led by the Mayor’s Culture Team, under the guidance of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group (FPCG).

The FPCG recommends contemporary works for the Fourth Plinth. The first commission under the FPCG was Marc Quinn's sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant, unveiled in a public ceremony in September 2005. It was followed by Thomas Schütte’s Model for a Hotel in 2007 and by Antony Gormley’s One & Other in 2009. Yinka Shonibare MBE’s sculpture Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle remained on the plinth until the end of January 2012.

In November 2011 The Art Fund and the National Maritime Museum launched a public appeal to give the commission a permanent home at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Katharina Fritsch’s work follows Powerless Structures, Fig 101 by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. Previous commissions have been Ecce Homo by Mark Wallinger (1999), Regardless of History by Bill Woodrow (2000) and Monument by Rachel Whiteread (2001). Arts Council England has been a funding partner supporting the programme since 2003. 

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk 

The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group Jo Baxendale, Relationship Manager, Visual Art, Arts Council England Iwona Blazwick – Director of Whitechapel Gallery Mick Brundle – Principal, Arup Associates Jeremy Deller – Artist Tamsin Dillon – Head of Art on the Underground, Transport for London Ekow Eshun – Writer, Broadcaster (Chair) Grayson Perry – Artist Matthew Slotover - Co-director, Frieze Jon Snow – Broadcaster Justine Simons – Greater London Authority (Director, Fourth Plinth Programme)