Cock-a-doodle-blue





I can't quite believe I have the excuse to type this, but Boris Johnson has unveiled a giant, blue cock to the crowds of Trafalgar Square. No, he isn't some disease-ridden exhibitionist (not to my knowledge, at least); he was introducing the latest inhabitant of the fourth plinth.



Teehee, it's called Cock.

Anyway, enough of my potty mouth. Instead, let's have a crash course in the fourth plinth. Built in 1841, it was originally designed for an equestrian statue, but it remained empty due to a lack of funds. Then, in 1998, the first temporary sculpture for the plinth was commissioned. Since then, it has hosted some intriguing works, including one by Anthony Gormley.



Replacing last year's boy on a rocking horse, which juxtaposed innocence and playfulness with the imperial elements of the other plinths, Katharina Fritsch's Cock will sit on the fourth plinth for eighteen months.

Did I just say 'Katharina's cock'?

Given her explanation of the artwork, I wouldn't be surprised if it was her intention to have people talk about 'her Cock' in this way. It is an undoubtedly feminist piece. In a crowd of vainglorious men (statues of Nelson, George IV, Havelock and Napier sit nearby), Katharina has the biggest cock. And the gender inversion doesn't stop there. She is quoted as saying: 'It is a feminist sculpture... I, a woman, am depicting something male. Historically it has always been the other way around.'

Personally, I love the piece. The straightforward blueness (not a differing shade on the whole sculpture)  reminds me of Yves Klein, who created a new pigment with his single colour canvas in the early sixties. He discovered it, he conquered it; and here is Katharina Fritsch cheekily borrowing it to take the piss out of any one man discovering, or conquering, something.

Yves Klein, Blue Monochrome

Of the fourth plinth, the artist has said something that resonated with me: "Art is not made for a few people - it is not an elitist thing." Couldn't agree more.

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