Ominous whipped cream art comes to London's Trafalgar Square

Lawrence Kim
August 1, 2020

Modern artwork erected in Trafalgar Square needed to be inspected by a bird expert to ensure the sculpture's built-in drone propellers would not harm the landmark's famous pigeons.

The sculpture depicts a fly crawling up the side of an enormous swirl of cream, which is topped by a glossy cherry on which a drone rests.

Ekow Eshun, chairman of the Fourth Plinth commissioning group, said the sculpture "expresses something of the fraught times that we're now living through while also standing in conversation with the artistic and social history of Trafalgar Square".

The dystopian artwork, entitled "The End", was created by British artist Heather Phillipson at the end of 2016. The work, titled "The End", is interactive - visitors can live-stream the view from the drone on their mobile phones or computers.

It follows the piece on from The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist by Michael Rakowitz, who was chosen along with Ms Phillipson by the Fourth Plinth Commission Group following an exhibition at the National Gallery where 10,000 people voted on shortlisted artworks.

The latest 9.4 meter (30.8 feet) sculpture is the work of British artist Heather Phillipson, and will stand on the plinth until spring 2022, according to a statement from the Mayor of London.

'It expresses something of the fraught times that we're now living through while also standing in conversation with the artistic and social history of Trafalgar Square, ' he said.

Phillipson said she wanted the cherry's stalk to be very tall to rival Nelson's Column, the centerpiece of the square.

The Fourth Plinth commissions have seen many works over the years, including Marc Quinn's sculpture of pregnant Alison Lapper and Yinka Shonibare's scaled-down replica of HMS Victory, contained in a glass bottle.

The artist said she felt "mixed emotions" about the unveiling.

"Obviously it's a odd time to be doing anything right now".

"For me, 2016 was quite an important political moment in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world", said Phillipson, noting that the year observed Brexit just happen and "there were rumblings in America of Trump getting elected".

Phillipson told Reuters that she got the idea for the work in 2016, when Britain had just voted to leave the European Union and Donald Trump was campaigning for the US presidency. The pandemic. attunes them to a slightly higher frequency'.

Ms Phillipson said the sculpture was not necessarily meant to be "pessimistic" but was also "hopeful" and signalled a "chance of radical change".

"Culture is so important to our city, it's our DNA", said Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor of London for Culture, adding that "Before the pandemic it was worth 58 billion pounds to the economy and one in every six jobs here is a creative job".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER