picture from here
Plinth is such a good word.
Trafalgar Square in London has 4 plinthes, one at each corner. Or is that plinths? And can I be bothered to check?
3 of the plinths (I didn't check, its just my instinct) are occupied by 2 generals and a monarch, but the 4th has always been empty and has been the subject of much discussion over the past 10 years or more.
Since about the turn of the century the plinth has been used as a temporary exhibition space.
I really liked Mark Wallinger's statue of Christ "Ecce homo", though I don't know if it would have such impact in a different context. Well, different context different impact maybe. But in Trafalgar Square I thought it was impressive. It was such a small statue (life-sized) in relation to the hugeness of the Square with Nelson's unfeasible column towering above, and the immense lions and military figures. And it was so quiet and still amidst the hustle and busyness of London. Its silent and understated presence effortlessly threw into question the oversized celebration of British power and militarism.
It was impressive almost through being un-impressive.
I also really liked Marc Quinn's statue of Alison Lapper - beautiful, maternal and also disabled like - but also very unlike - Nelson. Another statue which worked so well in this particular context.
So....the current project on the 4th plinth was dreamed up by the wonderful Anthony Gormley, possibly most well known for his Angel of the North.
For 100 days members of the British public (or anyone living in the UK) can apply for the opportunity to spend an hour on the plinth. Doing whatever they like. Anything within the limits of what is lawful. A living portrait of the UK.
You can watch what is going on - Look here. As I write this, there is a woman sat there who appears to be setting up a teddy bear's picnic. She's reading a book to them.
There have been people singing or playing music. People sitting reading a book, or blowing bubbles. One man sat and made and dispatched dozens of paper airplanes. Another took a canvas and spent the hour painting his view.
And so it was that last night, on my way to meet a friend for an evening at the theatre, I saw a womble being delivered up onto the plinth for his hour of glory.
Click here for more info. on the Wombles of Wimbledon common.
And keep watching this blog...... my name has gone into the draw to get a place on the plinth in September or October. Its about a one in ten chance.
I used to be shy and retiring. I sometimes hardly know myself these days.