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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Trafalgar Square sculpture unveiled
Presented by Culture Secretary Chris Smith
The plinth is unveiled to crowds at Trafalgar Square
A new sculpture for the empty plinth in London's Trafalgar Square has been revealed.


It creates a moment of peace

Culture Secretary Chris Smith
Rachel Whiteread's Monument - a water-clear resin cast of the inside of the granite plinth itself - was unveiled by Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

He said: "Not only is it a beautiful piece reflecting back the movement and bustle of central London but it creates a moment of peace."

He praised the project to use the plinth to bring art to the public.

"It has been the cornerstone of our approach and despite what a handful of snotty people may say about keeping things of artistic value for themselves, the more we can open them up to people the better."

He also dismissed reports that his Department of Culture, Media and Sport would be broken up after Thursday's General Election.

The inverse plinth was made by casting two hollow resin sections which sit one inside the other atop the plinth.

Whiteread submitted the idea in 1998, and development began almost two years ago. The actual cast was made last month.

Chaos

After the unveiling of what is the largest ever work in resin, Rachel Whiteread said that it had been a "very, very difficult" piece to make.


I decided that the most appropriate sculpture for the plinth would be to make a 'pause'

Sculptor Rachel Whiteread
"After spending some time in Trafalgar Square observing the people, traffic, pigeons, architecture, sky and fountains, I became acutely aware of the general chaos of Central London life," said Whiteread.

"I decided that the most appropriate sculpture for the plinth would be to make a 'pause': a quiet moment for the space," she added.

The sculpture is latest in a series of contemporary sculptures to be placed temporarily on the plinth, which has been empty since the square was first laid out in 1841.

Whiteread
Sculptor: Rachel Whiteread
Empty

The three other plinths in the square have large-scale equestrian statues: two of 19th century imperial generals and one of King George IV.

But the fourth has stood empty since King William IV died without leaving enough funds to have his own statue erected, and no one else stepped in.

In 1995 the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) was given permission by Westminster City Council to fill the plinth.

The RSA has now handed over the project to the Greater London Authority which will oversee a rotation of contemporary works on the site.


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