Work of the Week

Michael Bolus' sculpture presents a challenge to even the most broadminded amongst us to free our minds from all preconceptions of what we believe sculpture should look like. Bolus' work does not look like any sculpture, however wild and fanciful, that we may have seen before. It is only by ridding ourselves of our habits of classification that we will be able to do it justice.


- Ian Dunlop writing in the catalogue: The New Generation: 1965 published by Whitechapel Gallery, London


Michael Bolus
Untitled Sculpture No.3, 1974
Painted steel
138 x 321 x 298 cm
4ft 6 ⅜ x 10ft 6 ⅜ x 9ft 9 ⅜ ins


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As a student, Michael Bolus' earliest work was modelled or sculpted in stone, but he soon abandoned these traditional techniques in favour of working with steel and aluminium. These other materials allowed him to explore the notions of balance and the extension of form which had long interested him.


Bolus participated in the significant New Generation show at Whitechapel Gallery in 1965, where he exhibited a series of polychromatic sculptures taking the form of abstract shapes cut out of sheet aluminium and placed flat on the ground. In the 1970s his sculpture elevated, becoming more fragmented and making use of lattice and grid-like constructions that challenge gravity, such as Untitled Sculpture No. 3, 1974, pictured here.


Born in South Africa in 1934, Michael Bolus settled in England in 1957 and studied at St Martin's School of Art from 1958 to 1962. He is represented in numerous public collections around the world, including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia; and Tate, London.


Michael Bolus, Untitled Sculpture No 3
Michael Bolus, Untitled Sculpture No 3