02 Jul, 2009

First fourth plinthers revealed

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

A Lincolnshire housewife will be the first to take part in Antony Gormley’s One & Other sculpture in Trafalgar Square on Monday, where she intends to raise awareness for the NSPCC

A mother of two from Lincolnshire will be given a place in the cultural history of Britain when, on Monday morning, she is lifted on to the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Rachel Wardell was today named as the first participant in the artist Antony Gormley’s One & Other, an art project that involves members of the public spending one hour on the plinth doing whatever they please. Wardell, 35, will be raised on to the plinth by a modified forklift truck at 9am. While undecided on what she will do in her alloted time, Wardell said she wanted to raise awareness for the NSPCC. “I don’t want to say anything about me, but what is important to me is children.”

The Sleaford housewife said she never expected to be chosen, let alone be the first person to participate. She added, “I wanted to be able to represent normal, everyday, stay-at-home mums who aren’t normally a feature of major artworks; to show my kids now, and when they’re older, that you can do and be part of anything, no matter how ordinary you are or feel.”

In total, roughly 14,500 people applied to take part, and 615 were randomly selected for July. Others chosen for day one include Jason Clark, a 41-year-old nurse from Brighton; Jill Gatcum, a 51-year-old consultant from London; Suren Seneviratne, a 22-year-old graduate; and Ishvinder Singh Matharu, a 31-year-old optometrist from Chigwell.

Clark, who will be up at 10am, has artistic form: he once got naked to take part in a Spencer Tunick photo installation at Selfridges. “This time I will probably be clothed,” he said. Gatcum said she was going to release balloons for charity during her hour. “I entered because no one in my family has ever been on a historic plinth – we’re not generals, philanthropists, scientists or politicians – so it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.” Seneviratne, having recently graduated from Goldsmiths, is promising “some kind of performance piece” during his hour.

Gormley wants to present a portrait of the UK as it is in the 21st century and to challenge the notion that only certain people, whether heroes or soldiers, have the right to occupy plinths.

The project runs between 6 July and 14 October 2009, and 2,400 people will take part. Viewers will be able to follow the different participants, day and night, at www.oneandother.co.uk.

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