Michael Pinsky, 'Intersection', 2011. St Bernadette School, Bristol. Image courtesy of the artist, and Art and Sacred Places.


Bristol City Council is currently in the process of completing a number of new schools in the City under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Included in this series is St Bernadette Catholic Secondary School located a few miles from the centre of Bristol which serves the south and east of the city.


As part of the development Bristol City Council commissioned Art and Sacred Places to develop a new public art work within the development, working closely with an appointed artist and the school development team comprising the school staff, pupils, contractor, architects and key stakeholders.

The artist selected for the commission was Michael Pinsky, who began work in January 2010 and who has developed a new work entitled ‘Intersection’ which takes as a starting point the shared time that pupils spend together at the school (a key meeting point in their lives). The artist describes this period as a ‘cross roads’; the ‘cross’ being further referenced by the faith school setting.

For Pinsky, “the school body contains hundreds of such convergences” between pupils and their setting which became the locus for the artist’s work; working closely with pupils to develop hundreds of crosses to form a grid structure, and basis for a kinetic light sculpture.

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. Each cross was then computer manipulated to form a giant grid or map which has been transposed onto sheets of glass. Illuminated from behind, the work gently pulsates within the heart of the school. Pinsky, influenced by modern artists such as Flavin, Reinhardt and Malevich, explores the spiritual resonance of the school through pattern, light and technology.

Dr Michael Pinsky

Dr Michael Pinsky graduated from the Royal College of Art. He has given public talks for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Institute of Contemporary Art, Finnish Academy for the Arts, Best of Heritage, Dubrovnik and V2, Rotterdam. He has received numerous awards including: RSA, Art and Architecture, Arts and Business, winner, Wellcome Trust, major production award and his exhibition ‘Pontis’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Gulbenkian Museums Award

He has exhibited extensively in galleries and festivals such as TATE Britain, the Saatchi Gallery, the ICA, London; BALTIC, Gateshead; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow; Modern Art, Oxford; Milton Keynes Gallery; Cornerhouse, Manchester; Liverpool Biennial; Archilab, Orleans; CCC, Tours, France; Armory Center of the Arts, Los Angeles and the Rotterdam International Architectural Biennial.

Art and Sacred Places

Art and Sacred Places promotes interaction between religion and art, largely by siting contemporary art in sacred places. It engages new audiences by exploring the relationship between art and spirituality, encouraging debate and understanding.

Art and Sacred Places works with leading and emerging artists to make new works of contemporary art in response to sacred sites and their communities. The organisation is non-denominational and embraces all religions. It celebrates and encourages the interaction of art and religion.

  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council

  • Produced by

    Art and Sacred Places

  • Partners

    Building Schools for the Future (BCC, Skanska, LEP)

  • Supported by

    Bristol City Council and St Bernadette Catholic Secondary School