The Fourth Plinth


THE END

by Heather Phillipson

#fourthplinth

Close up image of a sculpture of whipped cream

The Fourth Plinth is one of the world’s most famous public art commissions.

It plays an important role in bringing contemporary art and debate to millions for free and casting a new light on London’s most historic square.

An established icon for London, it brings out the art critic in everyone.

View of Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Ship in a Bottle sculpture

Since launching in 1998, the Fourth Plinth has become known around the world for its diverse commissions and commentary on complex and contemporary issues.

Sculpture of a ship in a glass bottle on the Fourth Plinth
Sculpture of a large blue cockerel on the Fourth Plinth
Sculpture of a mythical human headed winged lion on the Fourth Plinth
Sculpture of a ship in a glass bottle on the Fourth Plinth
Sculpture of a large blue cockerel on the Fourth Plinth
Sculpture of a mythical human headed winged lion on the Fourth Plinth

Yinka Shonibare CBE’s ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ referenced the legacy of British colonialism as well as the rich diversity of London’s culture which followed.

Katharina Fristch’s ‘Hahn/Cock’ was a comment on masculine posturing in the square.

Michael Rakowitz’s ‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist’ reflected on the complex legacy of the Iraq War and middle Eastern culture in the UK.

The Fourth Plinth commissions are chosen through public consultation and decision making by the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, an independent panel of artists, journalists and curators.

The Mayor approves the winning artist based on the recommendations of the Commissioning Group.

In 2017, Michael Rakowitz and Heather Phillipson were selected to create the next Fourth Plinth commissions in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

Four people stand in front of a wall

Heather Phillipson works across video, sculpture, web projects, music, drawing and poetry.

Born in 1978 in London, where she lives and works, Heather has been selected as the next artist for the Duveen Galleries commission at Tate Britain, which will open in March 2021.

Portrait of artist Heather Phillipson

“THE END [has been] scaled up for its ultimate size and context - one in which the surrounding architecture and its population are participants in a mis-scaled landscape, magnifying the banal, and our cohabitation with other lifeforms, to apocalyptic proportions.”

Heather Phillipson

Sculpture of a fly and whipped cream
People gathered in Trafalgar Square for an Open Iftar during Ramadan
People kneel in Trafalgar Square during a Black Lives Matter gathering
People gathered in Trafalgar Square for an Open Iftar during Ramadan
People kneel in Trafalgar Square during a Black Lives Matter gathering

THE END responds to Trafalgar Square as a site of celebration and protest.

THE END is not about one particular end.

It can be seen as a call to action, to put an end to the things that aren’t right in our society and to put them right.

Person inspects a large sculpture made from polystyrene
Shaping a polystyrene sculpture with cheesegraters
Person working on a sculpture of a drone next to a fly sculpture
Person inspects a large sculpture made from polystyrene
Shaping a polystyrene sculpture with cheesegraters
Person working on a sculpture of a drone next to a fly sculpture

Behind the scenes

Transforming an artistic vision into reality requires innovation and ingenuity – two qualities London’s creative supply chain businesses are renowned for.

Made in London, the sculpture showcases the talents of a team of experts in construction, engineering, transportation and installation.

Months of experimentation, manufacturing and testing have resulted in a 9.4m tall, 9 tonne sculpture that will withstand constant exposure to the elements and retain the spirit of Heather’s original vision.

THE END is the first fully accessible commission on the Fourth Plinth. There is a braille panel included on the plaque, a tactile image of the work, and an audio description of the work on london.gov.uk.

Close up image of a sculpture of whipped cream












Go to
theend.today
for a drone’s-eye view of Trafalgar Square.

Sculpture of a large cherry with a drone on top

VOLTA

Acknowledging the seismic global changes of the past few months, Heather Phillipson has been commissioned by Art on the Underground to produce a new online work to accompany THE END.

VOLTA reckons with upheaval, renewal and possibility and combines her distinctive layering of voice, sound effects and music samples.

Sculpture of whipped cream with a cherry, fly and drone on top

The Fourth Plinth programme is a
Mayor of London initiative
with support from Arts Council England
and Artscape Management.



Acknowledgements

Images
Gautier Deblonde
James O Jenkins
Rory Van Millingen
Merch Husey, Unsplash

Videography
DUCK Productions
Tom Lock


With thanks to

Blonstein
a-n The Artists Information Company
Setworks

Close up image of a sculpture of whipped cream