Bring on the ‘bad’, says Shrigley’s giant hand statue, because we will stay positive! And so, even in the midst of rain storms and dense cloud, things were really good on Thursday, as spectators gathered in Trafalgar square to witness one of the UK’s most celebrated and well-loved cultural events. As Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, expressed, "the positivity and humour evident in David Shrigley’s commission ‘Really Good’ truly encapsulates the spirit of London."
The new Fourth Plinth commission, ‘Really Good’ by David Shrigley, was unveiled on 29th September 2016.
Last week’s unveiling of the Fourth Plinth sculpture - a seven-metre bronze hand, with elongated thumbs up, by artist David Shrigley - couldn’t have been better timed: promoting the ever-optimistic, incorrigible British blitz spirit, ‘Really Good’ was revealed beneath a gloomy-grey London sky.
The hand itself is a remarkable piece of sculptural work. Bringing to life Shrigley’s iconic line drawings, ‘Really Good’ is full of the same playful naivety and characterful quirks, but with an all-new sense of grandeur from the sheer scale. The smooth curves of dark bronze - a vernacular choice, to chime with Trafalgar Square’s existing statues - are artfully juxtaposed against the tongue-in-cheek humour of the hand: cast in such an imposing material, this is the work of David Shrigley, but not as we know it.
Bringing to life Shrigley’s iconic line drawings, ‘Really Good’ is full of the same playful naivety and characterful quirks, but with an all-new sense of grandeur from the sheer scale.
At a time when Britain is wobbling, Shrigley’s strong sculpture reminds us not only of the unshakeable character of the country, but also of the persistent significance of art in our culture: it still has that power to lift our spirits, to stop passersby in their tracks, and to bring cheering crowds together on a wet, windy day - isn’t that really (really!) good?
"The positivity and humour evident in David Shrigley’s commission ‘Really Good’ truly encapsulates the spirit of London."
The Mayor’s Culture team have collaborated with Plinth to make a range of merchandise consisting of 5 products - a porcelain mug, t-shirt, enamel badge, tote bag, and an embroidered patch - produced alongside a limited edition statuette of the commission, made in collaboration with Tiger. Retailing between £6 - £25, the accessibility of the range allows everyone to participate in this vibrant moment in the contemporary art calendar. To purchase the items, or for more information on the Fourth Plinth commission, click here.
Profits from the sale of the merchandise will support the Fourth Plinth Programme, especially its Schools Awards. This year, the competition received 2700 submissions from schoolchildren across London – with over 5,000 students inspired to think about what they would put on the Fourth Plinth.