The piece comprises a life-size three-figure group of young people at the west end of the station, with one figure standing directly on each of the three platforms, as if waiting for trains. On the London Victoria bound platform, a casually dressed black man stands at the back of the platform leaning against the station's brick wall. He folds his arms and flexes his right leg to rest his foot on the brickwork. By his left foot, his bag stands directly on the platform. Opposite him, near the edge of the Orpington bound platform is a white woman holding a shopping bag in her left hand. Standing on the third platform (facing the Brixton Recreation Centre), her back to the previous figure, is a black woman with her sports bag on the platform at her side. The three figures are deployed in a straight line running at a right angle to the track. Unfortunately, an eight-foot high blue metal fence, enclosing an area between the figures of the two women, now disrupts the unity of the composition.
Platforms Piece was commissioned by British Rail, at the suggestion of, and with advice from, the Public Art Development Trust.
The sculptural group was intended to serve as a focal point to the £1,000,000 Brixton Station Improvement Scheme, a collaboration between British Rail, the London Borough of Lambeth and the Department of the Environment.
Once Atherton's idea was approved, [**?who] placed advertisements for volunteers to be the sculptor's models. The three successful applicants were Peter Lloyd, Joy Battick and Karin Heistermann, one having signed up at the station and two at a local community centre.
An old ticket office on the station platform was converted into a studio and here Atherton made plaster moulds of his three volunteers. The moulds were then cast in bronze using the 'lost wax' process. Local residents and schools were invited to watch the sculptor at work and in addition there was an accompanying exhibition at the Brixton Recreation Centre opposite the station. The unveiling also officially marked the completion of the station's renovation.
Platforms Piece was the first sculpture of black British people in the United Kingdom. It was also the winner of the Association of Business Sponsorship of the Arts Industry Year award for the best commission in any medium in 1986.
Related works : Kevin Atherton, Conversation Pieces, unveiled 27 July 1990, Leicester.
PMSA recording information