For over 150 years, Trafalgar Square's north-west plinth stood bare. Originally erected to hold an equestrian statue of William IV in 1841, the project was abandoned due to insufficient funds, and it remained empty until 1999. Since then, however, a dozen temporary artworks have been displayed here. And in 2020, a the 13th Fourth Plinth sculpture will be unveiled.
Here's everything you need to know:
What's the new Fourth Plinth artwork called?
The new commission is rather ominously named 'The End'.
Who created it?
Heather Phillipson, a British artist known for video works and sculptural installations. She has held solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery, Dundee Contemporary Arts, and Performa New York — to name but a few. You might have also see her work on your way to the tube; she was commissioned by Art on the Underground to create pieces for Gloucester Road, Bethnal Green, and Notting Hill Gate stations.
What is it?
A big dollop of cream with a cherry teetering precariously on top of it. Upon this confection rests two different kinds of parasites: a fly and a drone.
What's it all about?
The End is a response to both the physical and ideological context of Trafalgar Square — a site of mass protest, as well as one of communal celebration. The drone communicates surveillance, the top-heavy nature of sculpture inviting the notion of impending collapse — the significance of which is compounded by the installation's apocalyptic title. Per the Mayor of London's website, it's a piece that asks "How do we negotiate congregation, the intimacy of personal experience, broadcast and surveillance in one space?"
What's it replacing?
The End will take the place of Michael Rakowitz's The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, a replica of a statue depicting the Sumerian protective deity lamassu, which was destroyed in 2015 by ISIS during its occupation of Mosul.
When is the new Fourth Plinth artwork unveiled?
Heather Phillipson's new work will be unveiled at a ceremony on 26 March 2020.