Whipped cream topped with a fly and drone is Trafalgar Square’s latest Fourth Plinth sculpture


A giant swirl of whipped cream topped with a cherry, a fly and a drone has become the latest artwork to sit atop Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth — the stage for a constantly changing series of artworks.

The bold and graphic installation, called “The End,” was unveiled Thursday. It is the 13th artwork to sit on the Fourth Plinth as part of an ongoing program of commissions, after the original statue that was meant to stand there, of William IV, was never completed.

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 is the tallest of the 13 commissions in an ongoing series that began in 1998, after the plinth was left empty for more than 150 years. Winners are chosen by a panel of leading curators and artists, following feedback from the public.

“The End” is the tallest sculpture ever to stand on the plinth. Credit: Neil Hall/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The latest sculpture in Trafalgar Square, a tourist destination that houses the National Gallery, and also a location for public demonstrations over the years, “suggests both exuberance and unease, responding to Trafalgar Square as a site of celebration and protest, that is shared with other forms of life,” according to the statement.

It is topped by a working drone which will stream a live feed.

''Hahn/Cock'' by German artist Katharina Fritsch was unveiled in 2013.

”Hahn/Cock” by German artist Katharina Fritsch was unveiled in 2013. Credit: imageBROKER/Shutterstock

The unveiling was delayed by four months due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while the giant dessert can be seen as a jubilant gesture, it also looks like the sweet treat might be slowly melting, as the fly and the drone scale its peak.

The work is “audacious and beguiling,” according to Ekow Eshun, chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group.

“It expresses something of the fraught times that we’re currently living through while also standing in conversation with the artistic and social history of Trafalgar Square,” said Eshun.

Marc Quinn's sculpture "Alison Lapper Pregnant" stood on the plinth in 2005.

Marc Quinn’s sculpture “Alison Lapper Pregnant” stood on the plinth in 2005. Credit: Global Warming Images/Shutterstock

“When Heather’s work was selected two years ago we could never have imagined the world we find ourselves in today, but we always knew this sugary swirl with a dystopian flavor would spark a conversation,” said Justine Simons, London’s deputy mayor for culture and creative industries, in a statement.

Phillipson said her work draws on the political and physical aspects of the square and the plinth.

The artist said that she was honored her work was now sitting in Trafalgar Square, adding that it magnified “the banal, and our cohabitation with other lifeforms, to apocalyptic proportions.”

"Nelson's Ship In A Bottle" by Yinka Shonibare was unveiled in 2010.

“Nelson’s Ship In A Bottle” by Yinka Shonibare was unveiled in 2010. Credit: Jonathan Hordle/Shutterstock

“The End” will replace Michael Rakowitz’s recreation of the Lamassu, a protective deity that was destroyed in 2015 by Islamic State militants near Mosul, Iraq.

Previous works that have featured on the plinth include “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” by Yinka Shonibare, “Hahn/Cock” by Katharina Fritsch and Marc Quinn’s 2005 statue of a naked, pregnant, disabled woman.

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