A 9-tonne sculpture of a giant swirl of whipped cream with a cherry on top, as well as a fly and a drone, was unveiled on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth in London on Thursday (Jul 30).
The sculpture by Heather Phillipson, entitled THE END, is the latest in a series of contemporary artworks to be displayed on the plinth over the past two decades.
Phillipson told Reuters that she got the idea for the work in 2016, when Britain had just voted to leave the European Union and Donald Trump was campaigning for the U.S. presidency.
"Cream is this slightly impossible substance when wet, it's full of air so it means it's always on the verge of collapse, which is a state I felt we were in," she said, adding that some of those unsettling feelings had been heightened by recent events such as the coronavirus pandemic.
The sculpture depicts a fly crawling up the side of an enormous swirl of cream, which is topped by a glossy cherry on which a drone rests. The drone's camera transmits a live feed of a small patch of Trafalgar Square to the website http://www.theend.today .
At more than 9 metres in height, THE END is the tallest work to date to be displayed on the plinth. Phillipson said she wanted the cherry's stalk to be very tall to rival Nelson's Column, the centrepiece of the square.
Phillipson said she had attended both festivals and protest marches in Trafalgar Square, and also often walked through the square in her daily life, and she wanted to reflect those different dimensions in her sculpture.
"It kind of speaks to ideas of celebration, but also something very uneasy at the same time. You know, that there's something potentially imploding," she said.
The unveiling of the work was delayed by four months because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. It will remain in place until the spring of 2022.
Previously, the plinth in the northwest corner of the square in central London lay empty for more than 150 years after funds ran out to erect an equestrian statue as originally planned.
(Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Mike Collett-White)