A new sculpture for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square is unveiled today. Elbowing Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant out of the way (rudely ignoring all the current efforts of Team Nice) is German artist Thomas Schütte’s Model for a Hotel 2007 and it replaces Quinn’s cool, white, serene statue of a round-stomached Lapper with something distinctly more colourful and quirky.
After a two year gestation period, Alison Lapper Pregnant has been taken down and today, Schütte’s sculpture will go up. The multi-coloured glass sculpture is the second in the Mayor of London, Arts Council England, London, and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation funded programme for specially commissioned new artwork on the empty plinth. It has been empty since original designer Sir Charles Barry ran out of money in 1841 and couldn’t have the equestrian statue he wanted; his loss is London’s gain, thanks Chuck!
Equal parts art, architecture and model, Model for a Hotel 2007 looks like it might topple over and scatter colourful Lego-like bits among the pigeons and tourists. It is a model of 21 storeys, a big lobby and a horizontal block which extends over the sides of the plinth; because it is made of 2cm thick pieces of coloured glass, it’s hard to tell how substantial and steady it is. The glass captures and reflects light and will sparkle through the grey months of winter and even manages one of those clever tricks of perspectives, looking different from eery angle.
Who the hotel is meant for is up to us to decide; we’ve got many months ahead to look up and think of who would go there, why they would go there and what would happen in a place like that. If you see it, tell us what you think.
More information about the new sculpture and the fourth plinth is available here.