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A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel

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A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel By Tom PhillipsDescribed as ‘A Treated Victorian Novel‘, ‘A Humument‘ is the creation of artist Tom Phillips, and he has been working on it for around forty years. I first became aware of him when I was an art student at Manchester Polytechnic and became interested in creating visual art that relied on words taken out of context. Phillips was certainly an influence on me, but I’m afraid all but two of the lecturers on my course steered clear of me and apparently did not understand what I was trying to do. The fact the Phillips’s work has prevailed gives me a little faith in myself, but that is another story. My brother is one of the few people who remembers my artwork, so when he came across a copy of the fourth edition of ‘A Humument‘ at the Pallant House Art Gallery in Chichester about a year ago, he bought it for me as a birthday present. I was delighted.

Phillips has taken a Victorian novel originally entitled ‘A Human Document’ by W. H. Mallock and transformed each page into a miniature work of art, selecting certain parts of the text and then using various media such as collage, watercolour or gouache over the top of the remainder of the text to create images and ‘poems’ that are in turn beautiful, funny, erotic, bizarre, intricate, … the list goes on.

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