The Cherry on Top

The Cherry on Top

Perched in the northwest corner of the famous Trafalgar Square in central London stands the Fourth Plinth. Since 1998 the plinth has been a a platform for enabling showcase their masterpieces by artists from around the world The Fourth Plinth Commission has recently announced the spectacular winning statues for 2018 and 2020 – a bull and a cherry. 

New York City resident Michael Rakowitz has won the 2018 prize for his sculpture of the Lamassu, a winged bull deity destroyed by ISIS in 2015. This recreation is apart of his project The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, which first came to life in 2006. The projects’ goal was to recreate the over 7,000 archaeological artifacts that were looted from the Iraq museum during the war. The Lamassu recreation will be made out of Iraqi date syrup cans, representing the decline of the once flourishing industry before the Iraq Wars.

Rakowitz is an Iraqi American artist best known for this conceptualised art displays. His art is deeply rooted in Middle Eastern politics. His work is currently being showcased in his grandfathers’ old packaging facility, Davisons & Co., which will be opened until the end of October. One of Rakowitz’ more notable projects is Enemy Kitchen (2004), in which he – with the help of his mother – teaches the public popular Baghdad recipes. His goal was to enlighten those who took part in the project about the Iraqi food and culture.

“As an artistic gesture I try to make an unlikely thing happen, and the impossible becomes possible,” – Rakowitz

His sculpture will be revealed next year.

London-based artist and poet Heather Phillipson is the 2020 winner for her sculpture THE END. The fiber-glass model consists of a cherry-topped dessert being eaten by a fly as well as a drone flying overhead which allows for curious onlookers to watch a live feed of the square from their mobile devices or tablets. The bulk of the sculpture is a generous dollop of whipped cream, chosen by the artist because of its indulgence and instability. Phillipson’s work delves into society’s shared experiences, be it as celebration or protest.

Phillipson’s work explores cultural references and emotional responses. Phillipson’s voice over film 100% Other Fibres.created for Frieze projects in 2016  was the recipient of the Jarman Award, an accolade recognising innovative and imaginative artists working with moving images for her The. Her work has been widely shown at institutions and fairs such as Frieze New York, the New Museum in New York and at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany.

Her work is currently being exhibited at the Drawing Biennial in London.

“It is important to go straight to the cliche and look at it. Not being able to accept anything at face value,” – Phillipson

Her sculpture will be revealed in 2020. 

Although they won’t have their sculptures on display in Trafalgar Square, it is worth noting the other shortlisted artists who have also created incredible works of art. 

Damián Ortega

High Way is a magazine-inspired sculpture of juxtapositions; with a light-green pickup truck at its base, followed by scaffolding, oil cans, and a ladder all placed with precision. This Mexican artists’ work reflects his ongoing interest in presenting the simplest of objects by experimental and culturally introspective means.

Huma Bhabha

Untitled is a structure having seemingly straight stepped out of a sci-fi film. The New York-based Pakistani artist created a simplistic silhouette comprised of a dark body and polystyrene head lending it a mysterious and brutish appearance; Untitled leaves room for interpretation.

Raqs Media Collective

Inspired by a similar relic which stands in Coronation Park in Delhi, The Emperor’s Old Clothes  represents the presence and absence of power – a  solo ceremonial robe and no emperor to wear it. This statue follows a long line of similarly themed works, including Hans Haacke’s horse skeleton which occupied the plinth in 2015.

All video clips are taken from The National Gallery’s Youtube Channel.

 

Written by Savannah Chinelli, intern for Pilot Productions HQ in London