Retrospective: Richard Bolam at 50. It’s all over bar the shouting. #bolamat50

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I was 50 in real life and the passport photo was taken when I was 19 or 20.

However, it feels as though there is still a lot of shouting yet to do. Here are a few photos from the closing event at Access Space and the Rutland Arms.

My year of being 50 is over and the project has been an extremely varied and qualified success.

With hindsight, it was a mistake to start the project so much earlier than the year itself – after the launch event in April 2014, I was so burned out that I couldn’t maintain the energy levels that I had done for the previous two years. As a result, the middle few months of the actual 2014/15 fiftieth year was when the anti-climax hit. It was no surprise to me to have a dip, but the timing could not have been worse.

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Making Bolam masks for the free goodie bags that I gave out at the closing event.

However, I never really thought I would be able to achieve everything that I had planned, but the biggest failure is not getting the 12 issues of “Catalogue” finished within the year. This part-work magazine is the central piece of the project but I got distracted with other things. What’s more, I spent far too much time making new work, rather than cataloguing and presenting existing work.

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Wife #2 and backup wife #2 at the Rutland Arms, with “HYPE!” in the background.

None of those failures matter, of course, and the project has been a huge success in many ways, but not in terms of global fame, obscene wealth or critical adulation.

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One rather perverse pay-off is, thanks to the almost universal indifference to my work, I now feel completely disenfranchised from the art “world”. Not from art, but from the world of art, or the establishment at least.

This is not a good thing if you want to be successful in that world, but I have little respect for it because I refuse to do the artspeak and do not base my work upon the theoretical conceits that seem to be de rigeur these days.

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That’s me on the left.

Anyway, I currently have two exhibitions open, “Casualty” at Access Space (limited opening times) and “HYPE!” & BOLM•ART™ at the Rutland Arms, both in Sheffield, UK.

I will aim to get the remaining 11 issues of “Catalogue” finished over the coming year, and I will be continuing the project as Bolamat50+1.

Last Exit to Bolam – Retrospective Grand Finale exhibitions and closing event

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The end of my Bolam at 50 year approaches. I will be 51 on the 24th of April 2015 and, as a celebratory finale, I am showing some art at Access Space and the Rutland Arms, across the road from each other in Sheffield, like I did for the launch.

At Access Space, I am showing an exhibit entitled “Casualty”, which is a small collection of war-themed work, including an installation version of Casualty 14-18 which a commemoration of the approximately 16 million people killed in the First World War. The exhibition is open from 21st April to 22nd May.

Confirmed opening times so far:
Tuesday 21st April 3pm – 7pm
Wednesday 22nd April 4pm – 6pm
Thursday 23rd April 4pm – 8pm
Friday 24th April – closed
Saturday 25th April – closed
Sunday 26th April – closed
Monday 27th April – closed
More times to be confirmed.

There is also an online version:
http://casualty1418.net

At the Rutland Arms, there is a wall-based exhibition of the covers from my monthly HYPE! Bolam Celebrity Magazine. The Exhibition is running from 15th April to at least the 22nd May. Free entry during normal pub opening times.

There will also be a closing event on 23rd of April, starting at Access Space from 17.30 to 20.00, and then moving over to the Rutland Arms for the rest of the evening. There will be goodie bags for the first 50 lucky guests.

Why I will not be walking out of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” – The Aesthetics of Boredom

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The reason is simple, I will not be walking in. I have been bored on many occasions and boredom has a particular aesthetic, a sort of endless falling but without the adrenalin rush of potential sudden death, and it’s an experience that I value as part of my extensive canon.

However, I’ve ticked that box more than once and life is only getting shorter.

I skimmed an article in The Guardian which suggests that people are walking out in droves, not necessarily out of boredom, possibly confusion and frustration. Again, these are experiences with which I am already truly blessed.

I had arranged to see it tonight with my wife and a friend, in order to pop our Sheffield Curzon cherries, but I have decided to meet them afterwards.

Many years ago, my girlfriend of the time was really into theatre and went to see most productions in nearby Sheffield and Rotherham. I like theatre but not to the same degree and was much more choosy about what I wanted to see. However, she used to work on me and try to persuade me to see things that I really didn’t want to. After a particularly tedious production of “A Winter’s Tale” at the Sheffield Lyceum in 2000-and-something, I said “No more fucking Shakespeare!”.

I am not a fan, although I have seen a few good productions, including an excellent “Richard III” with Kenneth Branagh at The Crucible in Sheffield. I also saw “The Tempest” with Derek Jacobi which has a fantastic opening, but the play (not the production) is a dud.

I have also seen contemporary theatre companies who use boredom as an effect, but it only works once, and after that first fall down the well of despair, boredom is just boring.

Back in the world of film, I have cut Paul Thomas Anderson a lot of slack because I liked “Magnolia” (1999) so much, but “The Master” (2012) was very long and boring, and it is not rescued by either the immense screen presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman or the startling transformation from over-fed pretty boy to lean Icarus that was Joaquin Phoenix.

I am afraid I have lost patience with sitting through boring films no matter how critically acclaimed, worthy or artistic they might be. I have stopped watching plenty of films at home, but the last film I actually walked out of was an art film by Yinka Shonibare. As I get older, I value my time more and more and I would rather be in The Rutland Arms drinking Duff.

However, I think it is time to put PTA on the naughty step with Woody Allen (for “Crimes and Misdemeanors”(1989)) and Jane Campion (for “Holy Smoke” (1999)) until he has learned his lesson.

Beyond the naughty step, there is also a ditch of pooh, but that is reserved for Lars Von Trier and Gaspar Noé.

EXHIBITION EXTENDED! – “Stained by Dead Inkjets” REBOOT at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK until 9th July.

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Just imagine how amazing my unique art will look in your beautiful home.

“Stained by Dead Inkjets” (excerpt) will be on show at Cupola Gallery until 28th June, and the main show at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK will be rebooted on Wednesday 24th June with a fresh selection from the 33 collages, and extended until 9th July.

All the works are for sale at £49.99 each.

Photo: Getty Images

#bolamat50 Phew! I made it.

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HyperScape I – single screen version (2003)

I have been saying “when I’m 50” for so long, it seemed like it was never going to happen. And then suddenly it’s been and gone.

I made it. #bolamis50

I have two shows running until 5th June 2014, “HyperScape X” at Access Space and “Stained by Dead Inkjets” at the Rutland Arms, conveniently located opposite each other on Brown Street, Sheffield, UK.

HyperScape X is a three-screen generative work that imperceptibly changes from one state to another. The images are made of composites from images I hand-drew in the late 1990s using the Macintosh software Aldus SuperPaint 3.5.

You can see it running in the background in this timelapse video of the opening evening.

There is also a small museum exhibit in the foyer made up of earlier HyperScape works and other work and artefacts contemporary with it.

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Artefacts from the 1990s.

“Stained by Dead Inkjets” is a series of 33 new paper collages made from old work and spoiled prints. Prints of some of the images used in HyperScape X also appear in these collages. 14 of them are on display at the Rutland Arms, and two of the collages are part of the “Process” show on at Cupola Contemporary Art in Hillsborough, Sheffield, UK until 24th May. All the collages are for sale at £49.99 each (including frame, carriage extra).

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Stained by Dead Inkjets – collage #28 (title tbc)

Bolam Retrospective launch – 24th April 2014 #bolamat50

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24th April 2014 is my 50th birthday and marks the beginning of a year-long schedule of exhibitions and events to mark my first 40 years in the wilderness. Seeing as Tate Modern has failed to discover me, and the Turner Prize is only for artists under under the age of 50, I guess I’m going to have to just do it for myself.

The launch weekend starts on Thursday 24th April at Access Space, Sheffield, UK, 5-7pm and then onto the Rutland Arms (across the road) 7-11pm.

Access Space is a free, open-access media, arts and technology centre, and I will be showing a new screen-based generative artwork, displayed on three 40-inch screens. It’s called “HyperScape X” and will be accompanied by a small documentary exhibition about the previous four HyperScape works I made Between 2003 and 2006.

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The launch is also a fundraiser for Access Space and The Rutland Arms & Blue Bee Brewery have kindly donated a firkin on Stalky Ringbits Pale Ale.

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The Rutland Arms is an exceptional independent pub with its own micro-brewery. There will be a wall-based exhibition called “Stained by Dead Inkjets”, of new collages made from old work and spoiled prints. These works will be for sale and there will also be a competition to enter.

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Both events are informal and free entry.Please come along at any time that evening.

On Friday 25th April I will be at Cupola Contemporary Art, Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield S6 1TD. Part of the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” show will be included as part their “Process” show.

On Saturday 26th April I will be back at the Rutland Arms (upstairs) as Black Daffodil Press, selling my merch at a SPRING BOOK, CD AND DVD SALE, organised by Jude Calvert-Toulmin.

After that, if I survive, there will be much more. There is a regularly updated What’s On guide here.

Portrait of the artist as a young man (stained by dead inkjets) #bolamat50

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Okay, here’s something I didn’t expect to come out of the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” sessions. These are some contact prints I made using inkjet prints of scanned ID photos from when I was 19 or 20 years old, and graphic images I made 20 years later.

I can’t remember why I printed these, and it doesn’t matter, but I was really struck by the cross-printing between the images. These diptychs will not be part of the show in the Rutland Arms because they feel like they are something else entirely. Four out of six pairs are really successful and I might issue them as a limited edition set of prints. After all, who wouldn’t want my boyish good looks on their wall, especially the distorted and mangled mug-shot of an insecure teenager as a reminder of the dehumanisation of conformity and the inevitability of corruption, age and death? Price on application.

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I am almost up to my quorum of 23 collages for the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” exhibition, and I will be showing between 12 and 14 of them, depending on how it looks. The exhibition will be at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK from 24th April until 5th June 2014. Stay tuned…

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Stained by Dead Inkjets – Collage #6 (title tbc)