The Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square has a connection to revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg.

WHEN LONDON MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON unveiled the new Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in February last year, he was quick to dispute what kind of statement the skeleton of a riderless horse was making

 "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!"

But that's not an interpretation that its creator, the German artist Hans Haacke agreed with. He described 'Gift Horse' as a "contemporary comment on history, power and money".

 The right front leg displays a live ticker of stock prices and is intended to draw attention to the City and the wealth gap between rich and poor.

While traders and hedge fund managers make their millions, "the less fortunate look to the bare bones of the horseplay of today's gentry" Haacke said.

His installation is the tenth to occupy the Fourth Plinth and will be replaced this year with another work. Since 1996 the plinth has been used to showcase temporary pieces of art.

Some of them  have been less memorable than 'Gift Horse'. Antony Gormley's 2009 installation, 'One and Other', featured members of the public standing on the plinth for an hour at a time and saying or doing whatever they liked. Gormley, of course, got paid over half a million dollars by the Christchurch City Council for two cast-iron sculptures that have hardly set the world alight.

What is interesting is that Hans Haacke is also responsible for the 2006 memorial to the revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg. Long, thin strips of bronze or brass are scattered on Berlin’s Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz . They are several feet long and feature various quotes from Rosa.


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