- Associated Press - Thursday, August 19, 2010

LONDON (AP) - A cake made from bricks and a big blue bird are among six artworks unveiled Thursday as finalists for a coveted place alongside Adm. Horatio Nelson in London’s Trafalgar Square.

The square’s “fourth plinth” is one of the city’s major showcases for public art. Past works displayed there include Antony Gormley’s “One & Other,” which saw 2,400 members of the public stand atop the stone plinth for an hour at a time.

The current occupant is Yinka Shonibare’s “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle,” a replica of the naval hero’s HMS Victory with multicolored sails of African cloth.

Finalists to replace it next year include British sculptor Brian Griffiths‘ pink and yellow brick Battenburg cake, German artist Katharina Fritsch’s ultramarine cockerel _ which “refers, in an ironic way, to male-defined British society and thoughts about biological determinism” _ and a cash dispenser connected to a pipe organ that plays whenever the machine is used, created by U.S.-Cuban duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla.

The other shortlisted works are a sculpted mountainscape in the shape of Britain by Germany’s Mariele Neudecker; British artist Hew Locke’s vivid equestrian statue “Sikander”; and a brass sculpture of a boy astride a rocking horse by Britain’s Michael Elmgreen and Germany’s Ingar Dragset _ intended as a thoughtful riposte to the square’s military monuments.

“Each of the artists has come up with a very different vision, their wit and originality offering a highly individual response to the historic backdrop of Trafalgar Square,” said London mayor Boris Johnson.

Models of the six works are on display at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square until Oct. 31. The chosen work will be announced early next year.

One of London’s main tourist attractions, the square was named for Nelson’s 1805 victory over the French and Spanish fleets. A statue of the one-armed admiral stands atop Nelson’s Column at the center of the square, and statues of other 19th-century military leaders are nearby.

The fourth plinth was erected in 1841 for an equestrian statue that was never completed. It remained empty for a century and a half, and since 1999 has been occupied by artworks erected for about 18 months at a time.

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Online:

http://www.fourthplinth.co.uk

(This version CORRECTS typos in Gormley, Griffiths and in headline.)