Previously Posted: Only in England

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

Only in England (28.07.09)

At the time of writing this post there have been 528 people standing on The Plinth in Antony Gormley’s One & Other. We have had among others Lord Lucan, Elvis Presley, a gorilla and a pigeon. So far they have braved thunderstorms, torrential rain, unseasonably cold weather and heckling from patrons of nearby hostelries.

In total 2,400 Plinthers (they now have a name) will stand 23ft above Trafalgar Square protected by safety netting or is the netting to stop the public climbing up to stop them? Four security guards and a cherry picker crane helping them to the summit, carrying what props they need for their “15 minutes of fame”.

When Sir Charles Barry designed Trafalgar Square in the 1840s he included four plinths. One carries a statue of George IV while two others have statues of the generals Sir Charles James Napier and Sir Henry Havelock.

The fourth plinth, in the north-west corner, was intended to hold a statue of King William IV on horseback but the money ran out. To this day no agreement has been reached on who should be celebrated there.

True to British propensity to compromise in the mid-Nineties, the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group was set up to fill the gap with a series of temporary art commissions, the most controversial being Marc Quinn’s sculpture, Alison Lapper Pregnant. One & Other is the site’s most ambitious project to date, and will run until October 14.

Antony Gormley’s art always seems to depict the human body has struck a blow for the ingenuity and the eccentricity of the British. This is a glorious celebration of all things British.

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