More snaps taken thar day here. Quote from the Telegraph, 28th March 2018.
Fourth Plinth, Michael Rakowitz’s The Invisible Enemy, review: 'tackiness that makes you think'
The latest sculpture to occupy Trafalgar Square’s empty Fourth Plinth has the brash, shiny, gimcrack look of what it is: essentially, a tourist artefact blown up to massive proportions. Where the previous incumbent, David Shrigley’s Really Good, a bright blue thumbs up, cheekily echoed the dark, monumental bronze of the neighbouring 19th century statues, Michael Rakowitz’s The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist consists of a life-size replica of an Asssyrian bull god that once guarded the gates of Nineveh, constructed from 10,500 flattened-out Iraqi date syrup tins.
The fact that the footprint of the original sculpture, a Lamassu or protective deity, created in 700 BC and destroyed by Isis in Mosul in 2015, exactly matches the dimensions of the Fourth Plinth is just one of many aspects of this project that fit very neatly – some might say almost too neatly – together.
In recreating this inalienably great relic of a lost civilization in the packaging of one of the country’s major industries, Rakowitz is paying tribute both to Iraq’s distant and recent pasts, while drawing attention to its calamitous present. Where the winged and bearded Lamassu was destroyed in the country’s ongoing conflict, so was the once-mighty date syrup industry – which until recently ranked second only to oil among the country’s exports.
The oddball title refers to the original words written on the side of the sculpture. Add in the fact that the Chicago-based Rakowitz is Iraqi-Jewish on his mother’s side, giving him a personal stake in the work, and you have an irresistible package of ideas that made Rakowitz the obvious choice for the commission.
So how, finally, does the work look? Pretty much, actually, as you’d imagine. Rakowitz has picked out the original’s uniform marble surfaces in differently coloured tins, creating an impression of art deco-cinema tackiness. On the Trafalgar Square side of the image there is a lot of very bright, yellowish metal, which is not very visually appealing.
But then, this is a work designed primarily to make you think. While the final image is never more than the sum of its elements and doesn’t deliver the visionary jolt you’d have hoped for, each of these is more than worth pondering. If Rakowitz’s work brings the benighted condition of Iraq and its people into people’s minds as they move through Trafalgar Square over the next two years, it will more than have served its purpose telegraph.co.uk
Quote from Wikipedia
The Fourth plinth is the northwest plinth in Trafalgar Square in central London. It was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of William IV, but remained bare due to insufficient funds. For over 150 years the fate of the plinth was debated; in 1998, the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) commissioned three contemporary sculptures to be displayed temporarily on the plinth. Shortly afterwards, Chris Smith, the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport commissioned Sir John Mortimer to conduct a public enquiry that sought opinions from public art commissioners, critics and members of the public as to the future of the plinth.
The final report recommended that the commissions remain a rolling programme of temporary artworks rather than settling permanently on one figure or idea to commemorate. In 2003, the ownership of Trafalgar Square was transferred from Westminster City Council to the Mayor of London and this marked the beginning of the Mayor of London’s Fourth Plinth Commission as it is now known. wikipedia
An earlier occupant of the plinth, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare, was found, quite by chance, in Greenwich Park, on the way to photograph Gagarin. Wikipedia states,
This work consists of a replica of Nelson's ship, HMS Victory, with sails made of printed fabric in a colourful African pattern inside a large glass bottle stopped with a cork; the bottle is 4.7 metres long and 2.8 metres in diameter. According to the Greater London Authority, the artwork is the first "to reflect specifically on the historical symbolism of Trafalgar Square, which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, and will link directly with Nelson's column. It is also the first commission by a black British artist." The work proved popular, and its removal in early 2012 led to fears that it would be sold to a Korean collector. The Art Fund launched a public appeal to raise money to buy the work from the artist. By April 2012 the money was raised, including £264,300 donated from the public and £50,000 each from The Art Fund and Shonibare's gallery Stephen Friedman. The work was the first of the commissions to be relocated and is now part of the permanent collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. wikipedia