The Royal County Arbiter

03 February 2006

beget a painful wonder

a page from A Humument by Tom Phillips

A Tom Phillips micro-retrospective is coming up at the Ashmolean in Oxford, running from 9 February to 23 April. He's also giving a series of eight weekly lectures under the banner Making Art Work which will culminate in a musical performance of works by such luminaries as Brian Eno and Real Composers I Haven't Heard Of - see here for details.

Tom Phillips is perhaps best known as the creator of A Humument, an art book made from the painted-over pages of a forgotten nineteenth century novel called A Human Document. He describes it thus:

"I plundered, mined and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I'd stripped away with visual images of all kinds. I began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love's casualties."

It is a genuinely beautiful, astounding and funny work of art. Come and see it at the Ashmolean, you leaf. Man-sized props to this dude for getting us hep to A Humument.

The Tom Phillips Web Site: writings, art and other kinds of good stuff
A HUMUMENT: online gallery of the first printed 1970 edition
Reincarnation - an altered book: someone else has a go

2 Comments:

Blogger pinklefish:

Don't call me a leaf.

You toenail.

1:31 am  
Anonymous Kristen:

I love Tom Phillips' stuff. Have you tried giving an old book the Humumnent treatment? It's addictive - a black fineliner and a bumper pack of felt pens and you're away!

4:26 pm  

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