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Simon and Tom Bloor 'Primary Structure' - West Town Lane Academy

As part of the Primary Capital Programme series of art commissions, London and Birmingham based artists Simon and Tom Bloor have developed an artwork for West Town Lane Academy, Brislington, Bristol.

Artist proposal:

For West Town Lane Academy Simon and Tom Bloor have created ‘Primary Structure’, a pavilion that offers space for activity, conversation and learning. As the artists have commented:

“We were keen to create an artwork that would be an in-between realm: between architecture and sculpture, inside and outside, formal and informal. For us it was important to create a space for potential rule breaking where there is scope for action beyond the regulations of the more formal school interior.

We wanted to use materials that were standardized and familiar and that are often used in a municipal environment, but to adjust their appearance to create something more dynamic. The form and colours of the pavilion draw influence from Modernist-era art and design via playground climbing frames. Primary coloured steel poles join together an area covered by a corrugated metal roof and a more open space, also linked by screens containing abstract shapes that make up the figures of puppet-like forms that look out form the school onto the world.

Hovering somewhere between a classroom, corridor, stage and play-structure the artwork provides an opportunity for some form of potential use but where there is no defined function. Primary Structure can change depending on the needs and desires of the users­–parents, teachers and children.” 

This commission is funded by Bristol City Council. 

Artists biography

Simon & Tom Bloor are London and Birmingham based artists whose works and projects use a range of media including publications, drawing, sculpture and installations. Taking cues from the visual language of mid-20th century art and design they look to history’s moments of utopian potential and flawed idealism. Recent works have focused on our ambivalent relationship with the post-war urban landscape from housing developments to public art to children’s play structures, appropriating, distilling and adjusting a familiar modernist aesthetic to playfully navigate a territory where nostalgia acts as a sort of utopia in reverse, presenting relics of a future that never happened. 

Simon & Tom Bloor were born in Birmingham in 1973. Recent solo exhibitions include Loose Parts, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013) Happy Habitat Revisited, South London Gallery (2011), The Fascination of Islands, Cooper Gallery, Dundee (2011), Hit and Miss, Modern Art Oxford (2010) and As long as it Lasts, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2009). They have made several publicly sited works including Design for Pleasure, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum (2013) Nothing should stand in your way, LOCWS International, Swansea (2011), Hey for Lubberland!, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, (2009) and a series of Kiosk projects with artist-curator Gavin Wade (2006–2008). They are developing a number of permanent public artworks for sites in London and Cambridge, which will be realized during 2014-15. Simon and Tom have previously produced a major public artwork, Formula for Living, for Cotham School, Bristol in 2011 as part of Bristol City Council’s Building Schools for the Future programme. They are amongst the founding directors of Eastside Projects gallery in Birmingham. 

West Town Lane Academy

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West Town Lane Academy is a 510 place Primary School taking children from the ages of 4 to 11 years. The school will expand to a 540 place Academy in September 2014, providing additional places for local families. The school prides itself on the opportunities it offers children, providing a rich and broad curriculum.  In addition to the statutory curriculum, the school offers enrichment activities, theme days, extra-curricular activities and residential experiences for children that provide an 'all round' education. West Town Lane are very proud of their 'Rights Respecting School' status, and are keen to ensure that children leave the school knowing their responsibilities towards others. The school aims for high standards and expects excellent behaviour at all times and in all aspects of school life. The schools motto is West Town Lane: “where learning is an adventure”

This commission is part of a series of public art commissions curated and managed by Arnolfini for the Primary Capital Programme (PCP); a Bristol City Council and LEP,(Local Educational Partnership) initiative designed to transform aging primary schools across England into state-of-the-art learning environments over the next 15 years. More information on Arnolfini’s involvement here.