A sculpture depicting a dollop of whipped cream topped with a cherry, a fly and a drone has been unveiled at London’s Trafalgar Square.
The installation of the Fourth Plinth – home to a rolling commission of public artworks – was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The dystopian artwork by British artist Heather Phillipson, titled The End, is the 13th Fourth Plinth commission and the tallest so far at nearly 31ft (9.4m).
Passers-by will be able to use their mobile phones to live-stream what the camera-equipped drone can see or people can log in to a website remotely – meaning the installation can be experienced digitally.
Described as representing “exuberance and unease” and a “monument to hubris and impending collapse”, the sculpture will stay in place until spring 2022.
Ms Phillipson’s work will replace artist Michael Rakowitz’s recreation of a protective deity destroyed by Islamic State in Iraq.
Ekow Eshun, chairman of the Fourth Plinth commissioning group, said the new work is “audacious and beguiling”.
He added: “It expresses something of the fraught times that we’re currently living through while also standing in conversation with the artistic and social history of Trafalgar Square.
“I’m sure this this will be a hugely popular commission that will inspire everyone who sees it physically and experiences it digitally.”
Past memorable commissions of the Fourth Plinth include Marc Quinn’s sculpture of pregnant Alison Lapper and Yinka Shonibare’s scaled-down replica of HMS Victory, contained in a glass bottle.
Justine Simons, London’s deputy mayor for culture and creative industries, said: “The Fourth Plinth is the world’s most famous public art prize and each new sculpture breathes fresh life into our public realm.
“When Heather’s work was selected two years ago, we could never have imagined the world we find ourselves in today, but we always knew this sugary swirl with a dystopian flavour would spark a conversation.”