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.....about Bol Marjoram

I have been making artists’s books since the 1980s. These are hand made books which use the book form as a way of making a piece of art. They enable me to work with photography, drawing and collage and to extend my design the form and structure of the book itself. This has allowed me to explore my interests in text and images, to link content and, on a small scale, to present my work in its own context. At the centre of my practice are questions about how we organise our representations of the world. How do we represent and organise our thoughts and how do we group our associations and identifications around images? 


 Question: What got you started as an artist?

Answer: I had lots of time on my own as a teenager, so playing with and collaging the images I saw in magazines and newspapers, drawing and redrawing photographs was sort of way for me of connecting with a bigger more metropolitan world, and because, at that stage, I didn't see that much contemporary art it was also a way for me to learn about what artists were doing. When I got to art school (in the mid 1970's) it was sort of the end of that period of classic conceptual art. We were fortunate to have as our art history lecturer on foundation course Charles Harrison, who had edited one of the contemporary art magazines of the time and who had organised the first show of conceptual art in this country. The stuff I had been doing as a teenager, so rooted in images and objects, now seemed not only passé but almost like a form of visual pollution. For a while I thought the best thing I could do would be to abstain from making any work. When punk came along it was sort of a revelation, not so much for the specific music and fashion which it threw up, but because in the wider sense it seemed to celebrate the improvised, the messy and the unfinished. Like lots of younger artists at the turn of the 1980's I began to realise that there were all sorts of new possibilities that conceptualism had created. Types of work which weren't conceptual in the classic sense but would have been inconceivable if conceptual art hadn't happened. For practical reasons I wanted to compress my material and create things which were small and portable. I also wanted to eschew prestige categories like painting. I began to think that making drawings in sequences would enable me to juxtapose and play with different styles and forms of representation. Taking my inspiration from comics, as well as the text based work which artists were making at that time, I began to incorporate words and sentences into the drawings. In turn this engagement with language fed into the short films and performances I was doing.  

Question:How do you work ? 

Answer: At the moment its a kind of collage. I make lots and lots of drawings and notes then I sort of organise them, cut them up etc, which creates lots of fragments and offcuts which I often go on to use. So lots of pieces of paper, some quite tiny and they get everywhere, so that working is a kind of housework where I tidy and sift through all these of scraps of paper.