Art and Sacred Places


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Michael Pinsky - Intersection

'Intersection', Michael Pinsky, 2011. Image Courtesy of the artist and Bristol City Council. Photo: Jamie Woodley

Michael Pinsky developed 'Intersection' as a response to the new build at St Bernadette's Catholic Secondary School in Bristol.

Comments: Sheona Beaumont, writing in 'Art and Christianity 70" Summer 2012, talks of the Bristol schools commissions as championing "the sacred in deeper and richer forms". Pinsky's work has been described as 'fabulous', 'dramatic', 'mesmerising' and by pupils 'a lot more imposing' than words. Hear the children and staff talking about the work and the new school build on a Diocesan podcast>>

Artwork: The work takes as its starting point the shared time that pupils spend together at the school - a key meeting point in their lives. Pinsky describes this period as a 'cross roads', the 'cross' being further referenced by the faith school setting.

Gently pulsating within the heart of the school 'Intersection', a giant illuminated grid-structure or map, has been painstakingly and skillfully computer-manipulated by Pinsky from hundreds of the students' hand-drawn crosses. The crosses were drawn by each and every pupil at the school on 'Post It' notes with a simple brief: to immediately respond to the request to imagine and design a cross.

As with many of Pinsky's works he has sought out the most conventional iconography and manipulated it to merge the different positions of interest. Diligently avoiding the self-expression normally associated with artistic endeavour he nevertheless set himself, in common with his 'Horror Vacui' assemblage of architectural tiles in Torres Vedras Portugal, a personally, anxiety-driven puzzle - to include everyone's contribution.

The grid or map of crosses has been transposed onto sheets of glass and illuminated from behind. Like a kinetic painting, first the crosses are highlighted, then the spaces in between. Here the influence is modern artists such as Flavin, Reinhardt and Malevich: through this he explores the spiritual resonance of the school in pattern, light and technology.

Pinsky's 'Intersection' is one of a number of new permanent commissions for schools in the city of Bristol being developed by Bristol City Council under the Building Schools for the Future programme.

Installed: October 2011

Art Consultant: Art and Sacred Places
Funding: Bristol City Council and St Bernadette's Catholic Secondary School
Programme: Building Schools for the Future
School: St Bernadette's Catholic Secondary School, Bristol
School Construction and Development: Skanska
School Design and Architecture: Batterham Matthews

Art and Sacred Places - MMXVI-MMXVII