Michael Bolus b. 1934
T01353 7th Sculpture 1965
Painted chromium, 30¼ x 72¼ x 47½ (77 x 183.5 x 121).
Presented by Alistair McAlpine 1971.
Exh: Waddington Galleries, September-October 1965; The Alistair McAlpine Gift, Tate Gallery, June–August 1971 (15, repr.).
Lit: Richard Morphet, in catalogue of The Alistair McAlpine Gift, 1971, p. 56.
‘7th Sculpture’, 1965, was made at a time when he had become greatly interested in sculptures which combined clear expression of a form’s three-dimensionality with a topological apprehension of the continuity of its surface, seen by implication as flat. The principal manifestation of this was a series of sculptures like open boxes defined by curling bands or modules of colour, and enabling the complex as a whole to be read as cube, sphere, polyhedron or line. These works were the dearest instance in Bolus’s work of flickering interchangeability of role in a single static image. They also postulated, as ‘8th Sculpture’, 1963, for example, had earlier done, that neither surface nor line really need be cut off at any point. The sphere in ‘7th Sculpture’ continues this obsession with surface, and with plane made into volume; the cross-shape may be read equally as an endless line and as a deliberate making irregular of a symmetrical shape. Bolus sees the cross-shape and the void in the sphere as analogous to splashes of paint, or liquid photographed at high speed at the moment of impact with the ground; this work relates also to the fullness and expectancy preceding birth.
Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.