Fourth Plinth Shortlist
From last year’s whipped cream to this year’s ‘Antelope’, arts and culture writer Eddie Saint-Jean visits the National Gallery to check out the previous Fourth Plinth sculpture and the new commission.
From afar, the current sculpture The End, by artist Heather Phillipson, looks like a giant ice cream cone but wander a little closer and you’ll see it’s quite obviously whipped cream with a fly, cherry and drone on top. Well, that clears that one up!
It will soon be replaced by a new work. This year’s vote is over and Samson Kambalu’s Antelope has been selected as the new commission.
Antelope Samson Kambalu
Kambalu’s bronze sculpture celebrates two important figures in Pan-Africanism, Malawian Baptist preacher John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley. The distinctive hats reference Chilembwe’s refusal to obey a rule which forbade blacks from wearing hats in the presence of whites.
There were six shortlisted art works and you’ll find the exhibition of all their work in the National Gallery’s Annenberg Court space on Level 0. Free admission
The six artists are from the UK, Ghana, Mexico, America and Germany – Ibrahim Mahama, Paloma Varga Weisz, Samson Kambalu, Goshka Macuga, Nicole Eisenman, Teresa Margolles
850 Improntas (850 Imprints) Teresa Margolles
This work has been selected as the fourth plinth commission for 2024. The Mexican sculptor will create 850 face casts of members of the trans community. The total casts will be constructed to resemble a tzompantil skull rack from ancient meso-American civilisations used to display sacrifice victims or body parts from prisoners of war.
On Hunger and Farming in the Skies of the Past 1957-1966 Ibrahim Mahama
A recreation of a half complete grain silo in Tamale, northern Ghana abandoned during construction in the 1960s and now overrun by nature. Ibrahim Mahama’s work is a continuation of his narratives around found objects and their historical and cultural context.
Bumpman for Trafalgar Square Paloma Varga Weisz
The German-born sculptor and draughtswoman draws inspiration from her country’s folklore and 16th century pamphlet illustrations. The Bumpman is a quiet, humble figure whose body disfigurement draws attention to modern day issues of body dysmorphia.
Go No Go Goshka Macuga
The rocket launch, in sculptural visual language, represents the take off of a new post-Covid era. The juxtaposition of the start and end of a transformative period in history.
The Jewellery Tree Nicole Eisenman
Size aside, this is no ordinary jewellery tree. The trinkets adorning it’s arms appear worthless, ephemeral and out of place but it’s up to the viewer to ponder the unseen value and hidden memories.
Writer Eddie Saint-Jean is an arts and culture writer who reviews the London art scene and is familiar face at many exhibitions and private views in the capital. He is also an artist working in moving image and photography. His former studies in Visual Theories in Art and Film permeate his career as a journalist, artist and filmmaker.
Below are some of Eddie Saint-Jean’s previous National Gallery art reviews