PCP: Marksbury Road Primary School

Melanie Counsell. A_m_b_e_r_m_a_z_e Isometric, 2015. Photo Jamie Woodley, courtesy of the Bristol City Council and Foreground.


The new Marksbury Road Primary School is part of Bristol City Council’s involvement in the Primary Capital Programme (PCP), a programme of school development that will renew at least half of all primary schools in England by 2022/2023. As part of the development Welsh artist Melanie Counsell has been commissioned by Foreground to develop a new artwork for this new school.


Melanie Counsell has built a considerable reputation over the past twenty years for her installations and sculptural interventions. Notable for her economy of means and material sophistication, Counsell has created numerous critically celebrated installations in gallery environments and disused buildings that created new psychological environments through intense manipulation of time and space, architecture and object.

For the Primary Capital Programme Melanie Counsell has developed a new work for Marksbury Road, which will be one of the largest primary schools in Bristol. Counsell's work comprises a sculpture which functions as a communal object and symbol for the school. Representing ideas of difference, community and co-operation the sculpture is cared for by the school children who are able to move it throughout the school environment for use in communal gatherings, celebrations, lessons and games.

The sculpture is accompanied by the second part of Counsell’s commission for the school – a publication exploring ideas of form, design and movement to create a web of associations and possible interpretations for the sculpture in the imagination of the pupils.

Melanie Counsell

Melanie Counsell was born in Cardiff in 1964 and graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in 1988. She lives and works in London. Major solo exhibitions and commissions in the UK and Europe to date include solo projects for Artangel, London, Galerie Jennifer Flay, Paris, Matt’s Gallery, London and WORKS|PROJECTS, Bristol. In 2007 Melanie Counsell was awarded the Sargant Fellowship at the British School at Rome, and has undertaken numerous major residencies in recent years including FRAC Corsica (2008) and Cove Park, Scotland (2009). Her bookwork Annette and accompanying publication Catalogue are published by Artangel, London and Matt’s Gallery, London (ISBN 0-907623-29-8). Counsell has works in private collections in UK, France and Germany and works in major public collections including the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain and Frac Pays de la Loire, France. Recent exhibitions include Cairn Gallery, Fife (2013); Plan For A Ruin, Islington Mill, Salford, (2013); Lutecia, Works|Projects, Bristol (2011); HH, lightbox commission, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (2011), and A Fire in the Master’s House is Set, Chapter Gallery, Cardiff (2011).


Based in Frome, Somerset, Foreground brings new art to new audiences across the South West of England. We deliver an ambitious program that spans commissioning new temporary and permanent artworks in the diverse social and physical structures of communities, consultancy and development projects that explore the connectivity between the critical, social and economic aspects of contemporary art.

Marksbury Road Primary School