Saturday, 24 December 2016

découpé or humument

We are being treated to the five decade long planned demolition and brilliant reimagining of a rather unremarkable Victorian-era book by a historian and novelist called William Hurrell Mallock entitled A Human Document by London artist Tom Phillips. It is amazing to think about all the books that were in circulation during that time and how though we acknowledge that period (and others) as prolific, really there are very few titles out of the whole Phillips’ first iteration of the 1892 story came out in 1970—abbreviated as Humument, subjected to a sort of cut-up technique then being synthesised as an operatic performance of surrealism and then a critically acclaimed digital app in 2010. The work’s final form is ready for publication in early 2017 and each page is a poetic collage of few words that tell a profound story in fragments.