Sculpture of horse skeleton to grace London’s Trafalgar Square

Hans Haacke's sculpture will grace London's Trafalgar Square next year. Photo:
Hans Haacke’s sculpture will grace London’s Trafalgar Square next year. Photo:

A sculpture showing the skeleton of a horse, resplendent with a live feed from the London Stock Exchange, will grace one of London’s busiest spaces next year.

The artwork was one of two winning designs that will be commissioned to occupy the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

The Fourth Plinth was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of William IV, but remained bare due to insufficient funds.

For more than 150 years the fate of the plinth was debated, but in 1999 a sequence of three contemporary artworks to be displayed on the plinth were announced.

The success of the initiative led to the Fourth Plinth project, with the plinth continuing to be used for the temporary display of artworks.

The plinth currently displays Hahn/Cock, a giant blue cockerel by Katharina Fritsch. The artwork, saturated in intense ultramarine blue, was unveiled last July.

The horse work, commissioned from Hans Haacke, will be unveiled next year.

Haacke’s design, entitled Gift Horse, depicts a skeletal, riderless horse – a wry comment on the equestrian statue of William IV originally planned for the plinth.

Tied to the horse’s front leg is an electronic ribbon displaying live the ticker of the London Stock Exchange, completing the link between power, money and history.

A giant blue cockerel currently graces the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Photo:
A giant blue cockerel currently graces the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Photo:

The horse is derived from an etching by George Stubbs, the famous English painter whose works are represented in the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.

Gift Horse will be followed the next year by a work entitled Really Good – a 10-metre-high hand giving a thumbs up. The design was created by David Shrigley

Haacke was born in 1936 in Cologne, Germany. He lives and works in New York.


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