Monday, 10 December 2007

Pigeon shit on the fourth plinth

I don't normally like to express what I dislike about public art too strongly because a) there are plenty of people around who do that anyway; b) anything is usually better than nothing; and c) one person's inspiration is always going to be another person's pigeon's shit. But what are those horizontal sheets of coloured plastic doing on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, where Marc Quinn's 'Alison Lapper Pregnant' used to stand?

Actually, they're sheets of 'specially engineered glass in yellow, red and blue, which collects the light, reflecting it through the edges', as I discovered from the fourth plinth website. That's 'specially engineered' as in 'made to look like plastic', presumably.

Thomas Schütte's 'Model for a Hotel 2007' is exactly what it says on the label. It's 'an architectural model composed of three blocks: a building with 21 storeys, a big lobby, and a horizontal block of eight storeys, extending over the edge of the plinth'.

And it should have stayed in an architect's office - or at least somewhere more in keeping with what it represents. In Trafalgar Square, surrounded by all that classical, imperial stonework it doesn't add anything, it doesn't belong: it just jars.

That isn't even intentional, if we are to believe the blurb on the website. 'The sculpture is translucent against the sky and will become part of the important historical buildings all around Trafalgar Square,' it says. 'Model for a Hotel 2007 is sculpture, model and architecture all in one. It is also, at the same time, a commentary on the present.'

'What pigeons will do to the material is not quite clear,' the blurb concludes. I guess that is what passes for irony in some circles.


Jane Pritchard said...

Philistine! And you working on Channel 4's Big Art POroject as well

Anonymous said...

the pigeons won't be there much longer, ken's starving them