Unveiled recently, Trafalgar Square has gained a giant dollop of ice cream with a cherry on top as the latest modern art installation for the 4th plinth.

An organic fly and a modern fly – a drone — adorn the ice cream which slumps slightly melted over the plinth. If that’s all it was, then well and good – it’s sort of art and sort of decent art at that.

But modern art is less about the art these days than the small white card next to it.

And rather bizarrely, this lump of ice cream is supposed to represent… “Topped with a giant, unstable load, and a hidden drone camera, the plinth becomes a monument to hubris and impending collapse. The surrounding architecture and its population are participants in a mis-scaled landscape. With its overflowing dairy and oversized flying creatures, THE END magnified the banal, and our cohabitation with other life-forms, to apocalyptic proportions”.

Which is, not to put too fine a point on it, utter rubbish.

If that was the intent, then a lump of ice cream is about as far from the end result as would be otherwise possible to have achieved.

Is it aesthetically pleasing — yes. Does it work well in the setting – yes.

Is it a representation of a dystopian collapse? Good grief, not at all.

The End by Heather Phillipson will be on the spare plinth in Trafalgar Square until Spring 2022.


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  1. Mary says:

    Ian, I don’t know if you know this but the drone contains a camera which streams live footage on the website,www.london.gov.uk/fourthplinth

  2. Caroline says:

    Have you discovered the website artybollocks.com

  3. JP says:

    If ever there were a sign of end of empire then this must be it. To attempt to turn a representation of every child’s delight into a warning of a coming apocalypse is tosh of the finest pseud-ness.
    It is, thank goodness, still a free country so the fact that we have this “artybollocks” can be taken as a good sign at least.

  4. FH says:

    And why do we have to suffer this for 2 years in one of the most prominent areas in central London! Who choses the exhibits for the 4th column?

    • ianvisits says:

      “Who choses the exhibits for the 4th column?” <- the details of the commissions and who curates them is easily and freely available online.

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