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Hans Haacke and David Shrigley win Fourth Plinth commissions

The artists will install their work—a horse and a hand—in London's Trafalgar Square in 2015 and 2016 respectively

David Shrigley with his winning Fourth Plinth sculpture Really Good(left) and Hans Haacke's Gift Horse

A macabre skeletal horse and a giant thumbs-up will greet visitors to London’s Trafalgar Square, when the artists Hans Haacke and David Shrigley install their work on the Fourth Plinth in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The high-profile public commissions were announced today at City Hall.

Haacke’s winning commission of a horse’s skeleton, titled Gift Horse, comes with an electronic ribbon tied to its front leg that displays a live ticker of prices on the London Stock Exchange. It will be installed early next year.

The German artist was not present for the press conference, but said in a statement, “I was sure my oblique tribute to two 18th-century Englishmen would not be a popular proposition today.” He was referring to the political economist Adam Smith, who introduced the concept of the “invisible hand of the market” in 1766, and the painter George Stubbs, who published his Anatomy of a Horse the same year. Haacke added: “Some 250 years later, followers of Smith’s mythical hand flock to the City of London, to Wall Street and other market places around the world, while the less fortunate look at the bare bones of the horseplay of today’s gentry.”

Meanwhile, Shrigley’s proposal of a 10m-high hand making a thumbs-up gesture, Really Good, will be installed in early 2016. Accepting the commission, the artist said: “What is exciting is that it's not just an award were you are given money, it is an opportunity to make something on a scale you hadn't imagined.” (No pun intended?)

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