Award-winning artist Mark Wallinger hails young creative talent

30 April 2015

Fourth Plinth Schools Awards back to showcase young Londoners' creativity Award-winning artist Mark Wallinger has praised young Londoners' creativity after judging this year's Fourth Plinth Schools Awards, organised by the Mayor of London in partnership with Cass Art. The annual art competition, which invites London's primary and secondary schoolchildren to create artworks inspired by the commissions for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, has had another record-breaking year, attracting more than 1,800 entries, representing every London borough. The young people taking part were encouraged to take inspiration from the ten sculptures that have appeared on the plinth, as well as the historic square. These works include Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger, whose sculpture 'Ecce Homo' was the first to occupy Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth in 1999, and the latest commission, 'Gift Horse' by Hans Haacke. Mark Wallinger said: 'The overall quality of the work submitted for the Fourth Plinth competition was extraordinarily strong. I was quite overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of imagination displayed and the enormous diversity of materials that were used to express the proposals. And the proposals themselves were by turns serious, playful, satirical, accusatory, celebratory, or plain silly. Everyone had engaged thoroughly with the context of the site and none of the work lacked for ambition. It was quite a responsibility to select winners from such a strong entry (and a huge amount of fun!), but some works were so acutely memorable they seemed to choose themselves.' This year's entries include a Transformer London Bus; a floating balloon monument to life; a sinister pigeon made of money; Big Ben transformed into a weapon; and a three-dimensional Diplodocus inspired by Jackson Pollock. The overall winners are as follows: 5-7 Years winner: Garnet Class, Year 2 from Mount Stewart Infant School in Brent for a simple but touching sculpture of a face spreading Happiness. 8-11 Years winner: Jago Bevan, from Notting Hill Preparatory School, Kensington and Chelsea for For Sale, an estate-agent style sign to be placed on the Fourth Plinth in a wry comment on London's property prices. 12-15 Years winner: Thushika Ravichandran, from Notting Hill & Ealing High School Senior Department, Ealing, for Live Your Life to the Fullest, an inventive balloon sculpture, which sees the word "Life" floating as if a kite in the sky: a call for everyone to look up and take in what is around them. The Fourth Plinth Schools Awards exhibition, which includes the top prize winners in three age categories, as well as the best entry from each London borough, is now on show at City Hall and runs until July. Prizes were also awarded to ten outstanding teachers for the extraordinary commitment they have shown in helping their students realise their creative vision. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'The Fourth Plinth Schools Awards are a fantastic way to showcase the artistic talents of young Londoners and give them a chance to connect to the capital's most famous square. A record number of youngsters entered this year and the inventiveness and talent they demonstrated was superb. By bringing some of our most celebrated pieces of contemporary art into schools, I hope we will inspire the next generation to tap into their own creativity.' Last year saw the start of three year partnership with Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Mark Cass, founder and CEO of Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer, said: 'Our mission at Cass Art has always been 'Let's Fill this Town with Artists', so this gave us the perfect opportunity to inspire younger generations to take up art and work in groups to consider how to fill London with art.' The Mayor's Fourth Plinth programme is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England's Grants for the arts programme. Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: 'The Fourth Plinth Schools Award is a wonderful testament to the creativity and originality of primary and secondary school children across London. It is great to see that one of England’s most important and prominent displays of public art has not only inspired their creativity, but also engaged them as artists and audiences of the future.' City Hall is eager to welcome new schools to take part in 2016, but for more information and to see some of this year's entries visit www.fourthplinth.co.uk / www.london.gov.uk/imagination Notes to editors Fourth Plinth Schools Awards Organised by the Mayor of London in partnership with Cass Art, this annual competition is open to all primary and secondary schools in the capital for students aged between 5-15. Students are encouraged to produce their own work of art, inspired by the contemporary art commissions for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Those entering can use any medium, including drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, digital and video. Group and individual entries are welcome and there is no limit to the number that each school can put in. The artwork of the winners of the competition is not displayed on the Fourth Plinth itself. Entries are submitted to the Fourth Plinth Schools Awards website where all entries can be viewed. The Fourth Plinth Programme The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most talked about contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London, the programme invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the capital city. An established icon for London, it has been referred to as 'the smallest but most prominent sculpture park in the world'. 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 Fourth Plinth Programme is now led by the Mayor's Culture Team, under the guidance of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group (FPCG). Its first commission was Marc Quinn's sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant, unveiled in 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 and now has a permanent home at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Powerless Structures, Fig 101 by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset was unveiled in 2012 and will be housed permanently at the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark while Katharina Fritsch's Hahn / Cock was unveiled in July 2013. The latest work, 'Gift Horse' by Hans Haacke, is the tenth commission and will stay on the plinth until autumn 2016. 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 significant funding partner of the programme. Cass Art Cass Art is on a mission. Let's Fill this Town with Artists. Underpinned by the company's long standing manifesto, Cass Art is committed to encouraging everyone to realise their creative talents by providing the world's top quality materials at accessible prices. The first Cass Art store opened in 2001 on Kensington High Street. The Soho store then followed in 2003, Charing Cross in 2004, Islington in 2006 which boasts 7,500 square feet of retail space across three floors, Hampstead in 2010 and Kingston in 2012. Mark Cass's original art store opened in 1984 at 13 Charing Cross Road. This site has been an art store for over 115 years next to the National gallery. With over ten thousand product lines at Cass Art ranging from paints, drawing materials, craft kits and a large collection of kids activity items, every product is carefully handpicked to inspire the creative spirit and is available both in-store and online. The new Cass Art E-commerce site (www.cassart.co.uk) launched in September 2013 with over 4,000 products available for delivery across UK with a click and collect service in all six stores. It is the only art supplier in the UK to offer Same Evening delivery to London. Cass Art also delivers Next Day across the UK. The website comes as Cass Art looks to launch additional stores across the UK – with the intention to fill this Nation with Artists. 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 Mark Wallinger Mark Wallinger, born in Chigwell, Essex in 1959, is one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists. He was awarded the 2007 Turner Prize, having previously been nominated in 1995. Wallinger represented Great Britain at the 2001 Venice Biennale, and has held solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London, Tate Liverpool, Vienna Secession, Museum for Gegenwartskunst in Basel and Palais Des Beaux Arts in Brussels. His work has recently been the subject of a major survey at the Museum de Pont in the Netherlands (2011) and his latest solo exhibition, SITE, took place in 2012 at Baltic, Gateshead. His work is displayed in the collections of many leading international museums including Tate, MoMA New York, and Centre Pompidou Paris. Wallinger explores a diverse range of subjects in his practice, from the historic and mythic to the biographical and contemporary, resulting in works that are layered with rich cultural references for the viewer to discover. Wallinger’s work can be seen in London in 'Labyrinth' a 270 part commission by Art on the Underground, for which he has created 270 individual artworks, one for each station on the tube network, each one bearing its own unique circular labyrinth, but with a graphic language common to all. The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group Jo Baxendale – 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 Ekow Eshun – Writer, Broadcaster (Chair) Grayson Perry – Artist Matthew Slotover - Co-director, Frieze Jon Snow – Broadcaster Justine Simons – Mayor of London (Director, Fourth Plinth Programme) MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 or email communitydesk@london.gov.uk (press only). PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100 DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000