The ancient route Watling Street now the A2 runs adjacent to the site and as the main route into England from mainland Europe would have seen countless thousands of horses transporting man and his possessions over the centuries. The Thoroughbred was first developed during the 17th and 18th centuries in England, when native mares were crossbred with imported Arabian stallions. Every racehorse in the world is descended from these animals and the White Horse wears a bridle to signify that it has been domesticated and bred by man.
Wallinger has, for many years, explored the history of the horse and its link to man. The horse in Anglo-Saxon mythology is an extremely significant symbol. 'Horsa' - from which we derive the modern word 'horse' - was the semi-mythological leader of the Anglo-Saxons who landed near Ebbsfleet, on the Isle of Thanet in the 6th century and so the white horse became the symbol of Kent. In ancient times these figures would be made by revealing the underlying chalk and the sculpture connects visually to the more recent chalk quarry faces that define Ebbsfleet Valley.
Wallinger is interested ideas about identity, nationality, and politics in his work. Horses have featured extensively in his work and he sees the racehorse as symbolic of British colonial and post-colonial history.
"I like the fact that it will be rather uncanny in terms of its scale but that in the end it is simply a horse in a field" - Mark WallingerAbout the artist
Mark Wallinger is one of Britian's foremost contemporary artists and was the winner of the 2007 Turner Prize. Mark Wallinger studied at Loughton College, Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths College during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Wallinger's primary concern in his work has been to establish a valid critical approach towards the 'politics of representation and the representation of politics'.
One of his most popular works was his sculpture for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 1999 entitled 'Ecce Homo' – a life-sized statue of a Christ figure, naked except for a loin cloth and crown of barbed wire and standing on the edge of the plinth. The sculpture was later shown at the Venice Biennale, where Wallinger was Britain's representative in 2001.
Mark Wallinger is represented in the UK by Anthony Reynolds Gallery www.anthonyreynolds.comBack