Acquisitions Museums News Denmark

Danish museum acquires Fourth Plinth rocking horse

Elmgreen & Dragset’s sculpture, commissioned for London's Trafalgar Square, is now a gift to Arken

Elmgreen & Dragset’s work in Trafalgar Square

As Katharina Fritsch’s blue rooster is unveiled in Trafalgar Park this week, Elmgreen & Dragset’s previous work for London’s Fourth Plinth is on its way to Denmark.

The sculpture, Powerless Structures, Fig. 10, which was on view in London until April this year, will soon be set up in front of the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Ishoj, on the coast of the Baltic Sea south of Copenhagen. The work depicts a child on a rocking horse, wryly referencing traditional equestrian monuments.

The museum’s director Christian Gether says he had the idea to acquire the work when he first saw it in the UK. “I was at the National Gallery for the inauguration of the sculpture and saw straight away that its irony and humanism fits perfectly at Arken,” he says. “The sculpture comes with tradition and renewal and it is an ironic commentary on the obeisance of warlords. At the same time, it praises the child’s spontaneity and its playful approach to life,” Gether says.

Michael Elmgreen is from Copenhagen while Ingar Dragset comes from Trondheim in Norway, which had also been interested in the work. When local politicians made an attempt to buy the piece in 2012, Dragset had said that Trondheim would be his first choice as a home for the sculpture.

Instead, the Danish foundation “Annie og Otto Detlefs Fond” bought the work and donated it to Arken. Gether did not disclose the price. The foundation has supported the museum several times, funding an annual DKr 100,000 ($18,000) art prize and a DKr 50,000 travel grant each and last year donating nine works by the German artist Anselm Reyle worth DKr 13.5m ($2.4m).


“The sculpture comes with tradition and renewal and it is an ironic commentary on the obeisance of warlords. At the same time, it praises the child’s spontaneity and its playful approach to life,” says the museum's director Christian Gether
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