Six designs shortlisted to appear on Trafalgar Square's empty plinth were revealed today. The winner will follow in the footsteps of such works as Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant, Antony Gormley's user-generated One & Other and Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Bottle.
The shortlisted designs are chromatically drab lot, especially following on from the vibrant blue cock that currently graces the pedestal. But there's no lack of imagination in the ideas.
- David Shrigley's massive thumbs-up has to be a front-runner: a universal symbol of positivity tailor-made for Facebook.
- Marcus Coates' Unmade Monument is a replica of a natural rock outcrop in Yorkshire and a 'monument to non-human art'.
- Hans Haacke's skeletal horse would add an element of horseplay to the area's preponderance of equestrian statues. Bizarrely, its foreleg contains a live feed from the stock exchange. Horses for bourses?
- Liliane Lijn offers a pair of conical structures, like a damaged cast-off from Madonna's wardrobe. It's not apparent from the photo, but the twin peaks move around in a robotic dance. Could be interesting.
- Ugo Rondinone's sentinel face is said to draw inspiration from Cubism and African tribal masks. We'd posit the three-pin plug socket as another source. If this one's chosen, expect the invention of a new street game: throw-the-beanbag-through-the-holes.
- Finally, Mark Leckey's mix of shapes looks like a right old mess on first glance. But look carefully. Is that Nelson's hat? Napier's sword? The bulbous miscreation is in fact an amalgam of all the other statues in the square. Its name, Large Squat Afar, is an anagram of Trafalgar Square. Clever, if ungainly.
The six shortlisted sculptures are on show in The Crypt, St Martin-in-the Fields from today until 17 November, when a decision will be made. Two winners will go on show in 2015 and 2016.
So, what would get your vote?