Artists Exhibitions News Germany

Munich to get its own Fourth Plinth

Scandinavian artists Elmgreen and Dragset are organising temporary art commissions in Germany

Munich's version of the Fourth Plinth in Wittelsbacherplatz

Elmgreen and Dragset plan to bring Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth to Germany. A replica of the plinth, upon which the artists’ boy on a hobbyhorse work is currently on view in London (until April), will be placed on Wittelsbacherplatz, a square in downtown Munich, as part of a €1.2m project to bring art in public spaces, organised by the Scandinavian artists. “For ages the Fourth Plinth was a problem for London. It just stood there, empty. Then it became one of the most fantastic art projects. Sometimes you need problems to get great ideas. Maybe Munich does not have enough problems, so we are bringing them one,” says Michael Elmgreen.

Elmgreen and Dragset have been commissioned by the German city to organise the temporary art project titled “A Space Called Public/Hoffentlich Öffentlich” (Hopefully public) starting 29 January and running until September. “We chose the two because they question public space with very unconventional projects and also have a good track record as curators,” says Hans-Georg Küppers, the director of Munich’s department of arts and culture.

The pair have invited other artists to participate, and the first work to go on view is Phantom by the British artist Stephen Hall, a reproduction of the empty Fourth Plinth itself. Other artists contributing to “A Space Called Public” include Kirsten Pieroth, Ragnar Kjartansson, Ivan Argote, Henrik Olesen, Han Chong and Peter Weibel. There will also be a competition in order to select an artist to make a work that will be shown on the plinth later this year.

“Public spaces often gets packed with art, which then is soon forgotten. Temporary projects can create more change,” says Küppers. “I do not want to sound like the old guy complaining about the youth, but I think public space is not used anymore for meeting people and for feeling that you are part of a group, belonging together. More and more nowadays this is happening on the internet. But you can only really be a citizen by sharing in a public space, it should be reclaimed”, says Elmgreen.

Correction: this article has been amended to clarify that a replica of the plinth in central London, not the artists' statue on it, will be erected in Munich

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