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Mayor of London unveils skeletal horse sculpture by German artist Hans Haacke

By Bai Tianxing (People's Daily Online)    17:38, March 06, 2015
Mayor of London Boris Johnson unveils skeletal horse sculpture by German artist Hans Haacke(Photo/ Bai Tianxing)

LONDON Mar. 5 (People's Daily Online)——Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke was unveiled by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson this morning in London’s Trafalgar Square. The new commission is shown on the Fourth Plinth of the square for the next 18 months. Gift Horse is the tenth sculpture to be unveiled on Trafalgar Square’s celebrated plinth.

Gift Horse portrays 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. The horse is derived from an engraving in The Anatomy of the Horse of 1766 by George Stubbs; the famous English painter whose works are represented in the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.

Born in Cologne, Hans Haacke lives and works in New York. For the last four decades Haacke has been examining the relationships between art, power and money, and has addressed issues of free expression and civic responsibilities in democratic societies in his work. He works in many different mediums including painting, photography and written text.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “As Hans Haacke's take on the equestrian statue trots into Trafalgar Square, it brings another reason for Londoners and tourists to visit this cultural landmark. Gift Horse is a startlingly original comment on the relationship between art and commerce and I hope it will stimulate as much debate as the other works that have appeared on the Fourth Plinth.”

Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: “Hans Haacke’s Gift Horse is an important, arresting sculpture. It asks questions about the role of money and power in modern London. And it marks the Fourth Plinth programme’s continued commitment to bring the work of leading British and international artists to the heart of the city and into dialogue with the public.” 

Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: “The Fourth Plinth showcases high quality works of art in the public realm and we are pleased to continue our support for this project through our Grants for the arts programme. It plays an important role in engaging audiences in debate about arts and culture generally, and art in the public realm particularly. Haacke's Gift Horse is the 10th sculpture to appear on the Fourth Plinth and will no doubt challenge and delight visitors to Trafalgar Square in equal measure.” 

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(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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