The whole idea behind the German artist's strutting horse comes from an etching by George Stubbs, who's equine studies were published in the same year that the future King William IV was born, apparently one of our more decadent monarchs. Without the cashflow, the statue of William riding valiantly on his steed was never built and the fourth plinth has been empty ever since.
Hans Haacke, Trafalgar Square
Haacke's riderless, skeletal beast gives Dippy the Diplodocus in the atrium of the Natural History Museum a run for its money. You'll find, upon closer inspection, that the horse has an electronic ribbon tied to its front leg with a live ticker of the London Stock Exchange that brings themes of power, money and history to our attention. All tied up in a flamboyant bow, this gift horse has a satirical bite.
Hans Haacke biography: what do we need to know?
Haacke is fascinated by physical and organic processes like condensation, something which he refers to as 'systems'. You might know of the Hans Haacke Condensation Cube (2013) where the natural process is captured with drips of water running down the plexiglass. He has made quite a stir in the art world with his provocative comment on the connections between art, power and money. In 1970 the Hans Haacke MoMA Poll infuriated the re-election campaign of Governer Nelson Rockefeller by asking visitors to cast a vote whether 'the fact that Governor Rockefeller has not denounced President Nixon's Indochina policy be a reason for you not to vote for him in November?'. Haacke even had a solo show at the Guggenheim, New York, interrogating the personal and business connections of the museum's trustees, that was cancelled six weeks before the opening supposedly because of the impropriety of the museum's director.
Only time will tell if this new statue in Trafalgar Square will win over the public, just remember not look this gift horse in the mouth.
|What||Hans Haacke: Gift Horse, Trafalgar Square|
|Where||Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
05 Mar 15 – 30 Sep 16, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here for more details|