Bye-bye big blue cock, hello huge horse skeleton: fourth plinth artwork revealed

Say hello to Trafalgar Square’s controversial new resident

Trafalgar Square’s famous fourth plinth has a new resident. Gone is the big blue cock. But what’s been installed instead?

Well, the sculpture is by the controversial artist Hans Haacke, and is of a horse’s skeleton, 13 feet high and cast in bronze.

The “gift horse”, as the piece is titled, will also feature a bow round one of the horse’s legs, across which, a live ticker will scroll prices on the London Stock Exchange.

There are very clear themes of money, death, art and power, and the 78-year-old German born artist recently confessed that he was “absolutely flabbergasted” that his work, which he has previously described as a “good joke”, had been accepted.

The artist said that the ticker is designed to highlight the City and the wealth divide between rich and poor.

While workers in the City accumulate millions, “the less fortunate look to the bare bones of the horseplay of today’s gentry”, Haacke said.

Gift horse 2

In the past, Haacke’s work has targeted political figures, art establishment big-wigs and the dubious corporations that sponsor public art institutions.

He has also been an outspoken critic of figures including Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagun and Charles Saatchi, according to a recent piece in the Guardian.

Unveiling the statue, Boris Johnson said: “There will be those of course who see this underfed beast, this emaciated quadruped, as a symbol of the obsessive pursuit of austerity and the ‘George Osborne diet’ approach to life - but I say no, my friends, absolutely not!”

Big blue cock Trafalgar Square by Katherina Fritsch

Former resident “Hahn/Cock”, by Katherina Fritsch

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