Fourth Plinth: An Eco Option

Trafalgar Square has 4 plinths (columns), three have historic statues on them and the fourth has been empty since 1841. For the past 8 years there has been a changing exhibition of different sculptures by contemporary artists, each on display for almost a year. These have included a coloured glass hotel, a marble torso (pictured), a clear resin cast of the plinth, and a tree. The proposals for the next round are on display and one of them is an eco sculpture by treehugger favourite Bob & Roberta Smith (who is actually one man).

Their idea is an illuminated peace sign: 'Faites L'Art, pas La Guerre (Make Art, Not War)' . It would be powered by sun and wind. It is a collaboration using renewable energy specialists, structural engineers and an architect. Smith said "The plinth has no power and you can't drill into it so I wanted to battle with those things and make something very tall that had a light show on it. We have done all the science on it and it will work." The Smiths have a sly sense of humour and always cause one to question art and elitism. In this case their beacon would commemorate art, not the military past, as the other plinths do.


Antony Gormley's proposal is that the empty plinth be occupied 24 hours a day by members of the public volunteering to stand on it for an hour. Also in the running is Jeremy Deller, with a smashed up car from Iraq. Tracy Emin proposes to place a sculpture of a small group of meerkats on the empty plinth as a symbol of unity and safety. Apparently these mammals live together in an egalitarian order in the Kalahari Desert. Go figure. :: Fourth Plinth

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