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Blue Rooster, Rocking Horse to Go on London Plinth

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Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- A giant blue rooster and a curly haired boy on a rocking horse are the next two sculptures chosen for the platform in London’s Trafalgar Square known as the Fourth Plinth, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said.

In 2012, year of the London Olympic Games, “Powerless Structures, Fig. 101” by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset -- the bronze effigy of a rocking horse -- will occupy the plinth. The child, a symbol of the ordinary, will contrast with the heroic statues elsewhere in the square.

“Life is not about victory or defeat: There is so much more to it,” said Michael Elmgreen, one of the two makers, in a ceremony at City Hall. “It’s better to raise monuments in the hope of peace than to celebrate victory.”

In 2013, Trafalgar Square will host Katharina Fritsch’s “Hahn/Cock,” a 4.35-meter (14-foot) ultramarine cockerel that is, among other things, an emblem of male-dominated Britain.

“It’s a male, and it’s sometimes in the nature of males to pose,” said artist Fritsch, standing next to her model rooster. “That can be annoying, but it can also be cute.”

Mayor Johnson, who unveiled the winning designs by pulling the sheets off their maquettes, made a humorous reference to the rooster being a symbol of France.

Nelson Watches

“There’s no getting around it: In 2013, Trafalgar Square is going to be displaying a gigantic French cockerel,” he said. The only consolation, he said, was that “we’ll still have Nelson looking down.”

Trafalgar Square is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson’s defeat of the French Navy in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. Every year, the square’s only vacant plinth is filled by the winner of an art contest organized by the Mayor.

A previous winner, sculptor Antony Gormley, had 2,400 volunteers put themselves on the platform for 100 days between July and October 2009 in a project named “One & Other.”

On the plinth now is artist Yinka Shonibare’s replica of Admiral Nelson’s vessel, set inside a bottle and fitted with sails made of patterned African-style textiles.

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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