Gormley’s Trafalgar Plinth has appeal for Exeter Uni’s Andy Thatcher, plus more

Of the 2,400 people selected to participate in Anthony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth Exhibition in Trafalgar Square, a surprising number seems to have come from the Exeter Univeristy, the organisation got in touch to say.

Members of staff and students have stepped onto the Fourth Plinth to share their ideas, experiences and make artistic and literary contribution to the highly publicised and public art exhibition.

The last ‘Plinther’ from the university was Andy Thatcher, writer and postgraduate creative writing student. Andy began his hour on the Fourth Plinth by reading from Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham in a bid to acknowledge the performance aspect of children’s literature and the importance of rhythm, voice and repetition.

Andy told Arts+Culture: ‘Gormley’s project is as much about the idea and process of getting people to be involved in this public art as the act of performance itself once they are on the plinth. Although, the attention is drawn by the individual standing there for their hour, the real star of the show is the plinth itself. My time up there is about acknowledging my own plinth, the body of works, influences and support without which I would be unable to write.’

In addition to children’s stories, Andy also read poetry by Exeter students Ben Smith, Jos Smith and Jacky Tarleton. They formed the core writing group which was crucial to Andy during the last year when he was drafting his novel for pitching to agents and publishers. Other writers such as Annie Clarkson, Heather Steed and Dan Fone also featured in his hour stint.

This unique art exhibition involving different people occupying the 24ft high plinth ever hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days was extraordinary art event to be a part of according to Andy.

He said: ‘It was entirely unlike I expected, even though I’d tried not to anticipate how it would go. The noise levels were incredibly high and I had to shout to make myself heard.

‘That said, during the lulls, the delighted smiles of total strangers hearing their favourite childhood books read out by the current plinther is something I will treasure for a long, long time.’

Other exhibitors on the Fourth Plinth included educational psychologist Dr Margie Tunbridge and English lecturer Dr Dan North.