Friday, 14 November 2008

Armed Forces Memorial at Westminster Abbey

On Wednesday 29th October at Westminster Abbey a memorial designed by Tom Phillips to those killed on duty in the armed forces since the Second World War was unveiled by the Princess Royal.
You can read about the making of the work at the artist's blog.

In an artist's statement Tom Phillips explains:
This memorial takes the form of a text (adapted from that provided by the Armed Services Memorial committee) worked in welded steel so that the letters of which it is made support and strengthen each other in free space. With this structural interdependence and the presence of steel, the generic material of ordnance, a military metaphor is tacitly present. This is symbolically reinforced by the overall covering given to the metal which is made up from earth gathered world-wide (with the assistance of travelling friends) from various sites of conflict. These date from 1066 (Battle itself) via Agincourt, the Somme and onwards to the present day. Fifteen such earth samples were mixed and ground together to make a pigment bound in colourless acrylic resin. Thus, in an echo of Rupert Brooke's famous poem, "some corner(s) of a foreign field" are brought to an appropriate place to indicate the long ancestry of national courage. The not unexpected resemblance in colour and granular texture to rust could be thought quietly to voice the artist's hope of an ultimate peace.

Framing the metal sculpture and beginning similarly with the all important word 'remember' is the motto of the Armed Services Memorial Appeal carved into the fabric of the Abbey itself, a stone that is the same as that used throughout the world by the War Graves Commission. The carving is made as deep as is practicable to catch the maximum amount of defining shadow.

Thus the services and their dead are memorialised in bonded steel camouflaged in the earth of battle with a surrounding call to remembrance marked in sanctified stone.

Follow these links to see how the event was reported.
Westminster Abbey
BBC News
ITN News
This is London
Mail on Sunday
Choice FM
This is Nottingham

Friday, 24 October 2008

Less is More: the Poetics of Erasure

Less is More: the Poetics of Erasure
November 1 – December 12, 2008
SFU Gallery, Burnaby Campus
Panel Dicussion: Saturday November 1 at 2pm*
Opening + book launch: Saturday November 1 following symposium, until 5pm

Monica Aasprong · Andrea Actis · James Arthur · Oana Avasilichioaei · Derek Beaulieu · Jen Bervin · Rebecca Brown · Louis Cabri · Steve Collis · Jeff Derksen · Alexandra Dipple · Sarah Dowling · Jennifer Borges Foster · Jamie Hilder · Kristin Lucas · Michael Maranda/Parasitic Ventures Press · Erin MourĂ© · Tom Phillips · Kristina Lee Podesva · Angela Rawlings · Mary Ruefle · Susan Schuppli · Nick Thurston · Aaron Vidaver

Erasure is much in the news these days—stock portfolio values erased, a neighbourhood buried under water by storms, candidates for office learning that the public chose someone else, or a Fortune 500 company ceasing to exist. Erasure, however, has another side that deserves to be in the news: the poetic and the critical. This is the side reflected in this 24-person international exhibition, which includes the first-ever installation of the entirety of Tom Phillips’s book A Humument.

The poets, writers, and artists in Less is More have each responded to the ironic, formal, political, and semantic possibilities that awaited liberation from the source material they elected to use. The resulting poetry can take many forms: paintings, modified books, vinyl lettering on walls and floor, or blacked-out government documents.

Erasure is the most serious way that playfulness has emerged in recent art. By modifying existing documents and artifacts in aid of reconsidering their meaning, erasures provide an intriguing model for the ways in which meaning is created in the first place; it is epistemology, with fun added.

Panel discussion, Opening, Book Launch: Saturday November 1, 2pm
Please join us for a panel discussion on “The Poetics and Politics of Erasure” with Derek Beaulieu, Clint Burnham, Kristina Lee Podesva and Nick Thurston. Panel starting at 2pm, in room AQ3003, next to SFU Gallery. Followed by reception to 5pm.
*Note that the panel discussion was originally advertised as starting at 1pm, but the time has been changed to 2pm.

This exhibition is accompanied by a 144-page book co-published as the exhibition catalogue and as an issue of The Capilano Review.

Lunchtime talks at 12:05pm and 12:35pm on:
Wed Nov 5, Thurs Nov 6, Fri Nov 7

Talks for classes or groups may be scheduled by appointment at 778.782.4266 or

FREE PARKING! November 1 only. The exhibition card, media release, or Erasure exhibition page from our website is your visitor parking pass in any Visitor Lot at SFU (face up on dashboard or hand to parking attendant).

Contact and information:
The SFU Gallery is located at the SFU Burnaby Campus, AQ3004 (in the Academic Quadrangle, south side); Hours: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 12pm-5pm. We are closed for holiday long weekends.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Elsinore Library at Shandy Hall

Tom Phillips installation work The Library at Elsinore, will be the centrepiece of an exhibition at the Shandy Hall Gallery this autumn. Amongst the exhibits are six new pages from A Humument completed especially for this exhibition. The show will run from 22nd September to 30th November and all readers are invited to the private view to meet the artist on Sunday 21st September between 11am and 3pm. A special Elsinore Library blog has been created as a resource for schools who will be working on projects associated with the exhibition.
Shandy Hall Gallery
Laurence Sterne Trust
Shandy Hall
York YO61 4AD

Cardinal Newman

On Wednesday September 10 there will be a formal unveiling and dedication of a new mosaic by Tom Phillips of John Henry Cardinal Newman at Westminster Cathedral. The dedication will take place after the 5.30pm Mass to which all are welcome.
Illustrated here is a study for the mosaic.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Heart of Darkness

The first UK performance of Heart of Darkness will take place on August 8th 2008 to an invited audience at the ROH2 Linbury Theatre. This is a piano version of the new chamber opera composed by Tarik O'Regan to a libretto by Tom Phillips based on Joseph Conrad's novella. The workshop is part of the OperaGenesis programme which sets out to identify and develop new opera composing and writing talent from around the world and give it an international platform.
To request tickets for this performance please apply to
For more information about OperaGenesis follow this link.

Certain Trees

Whilst the V&A's Blood on Paper exhibition continues downstairs (until 29th June) a second exhibition, in Room 74 is strongly recommended by Tom Phillips. Certain Trees: the Constructed Book, Poem and Object from 1964 to 2008 surveys an energetic community of poets and artists in Britain discovering and developing the expressive potential of publication as an art practice.
And, while you are there, in a display cabinet close by to the exhibition you can see Tom Phillips's celestial and terrestrial Humument Globes
Certain Trees opened on the 1st April and runs until 17th August 2008. Admission is free. For more information please follow this V&A link.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Heart of Darkness reviewed in The Walrus Magazine

As readers of these pages will know, last November American Opera Projects in Brooklyn hosted the second workshop performance of Heart Of Darkness. This is a new chamber opera composed by Tarik O'Regan to a libretto by Tom Phillips and based on Joseph Conrad's novella of the same name. Read an account of the evening by Siobhan Roberts at The Walrus Magazine online.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Last Chance to See...

Tom Phillips's portrait of Sir John Boyd is currently on show at the Mall Galleries as part of the Royal Portrait Society Annual Exhibition. The gallery is open every day between 10am and 5pm. The exhibition closes at 1pm on May 11th. For more information follow this link.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

The Magic Flute at Opera Holland Park

Tom Phillips is currently designing a new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute for Opera Holland Park. The opera which opens on 28th June is directed by Simon Callow and the conductor is Jane Glover. Tickets are available from the Opera Holland Park website.

Sir Jeremy Isaacs at the NPG

Tom Phillips's recently completed portrait of Sir Jeremy Isaacs, commissioned by the Royal Opera House, will be shown for the first time at the BP Portrait Awards exhibition. The exhibition opens at the National Portait Gallery in London and runs from the 12th June to 14th September 2008. For further information visit the NPG site.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

RA Forum: Architecture & Music

The second Architecture and Music forum on Monday 21st April at the Royal Academy explores performance, silence and space. The forum, which has already sold out, will feature a performance by Tom Phillips of John Cage’s 4’ 33”, and a discussion with electronic musician, music theorist and record producer, Brian Eno and architect and musician Vesna Petresin Robert. The event will be chaired by Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner.

Blood on Paper: The Art of the Book

A new exhibition about the art of the book opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum today. Blood on Paper, which features work by Tom Phillips, aims to show the extraordinary ways in which the book has been treated by leading artists of today and the recent past. Blood on Paper will focus on new and contemporary work, and on books where the artist has been the driving force in conception and design. Admission is free and the exhibition runs until June 29th 2008. Illustrated here is Dante in his Study from Phillips version of Dante's Inferno.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Humument Pages at the Kowalsky Gallery

Three pages from A Humument appear in a group exhibition, Romance, which runs until June 6th at the Kowalsky Gallery at DACS. The gallery is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm by appointment and as part of the Time Out First Thursdays initiative will open until 9pm on Thursday 1st May and Thursday 4th June. For more information visit the Kowalsky Gallery website

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Museum Practice Magazine

The current issue of Museum Practice Magazine, Spring 2008, profiles Tom Phillips as artist, curator, museum trustee and collector.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Turps Banana Issue 4

Out today, Issue 4 of the highly recommended Turps Banana painting magazine includes amongst other features Tom Phillips' Biography Of A Painting I.
To subscribe follow this link.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Tom Phillips on Radio 3

On Sunday 24th February, Tom Phillips will be joining Iain Burnside on his Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 3, playing amongst other things, the studio tape of Brian Eno's Like Running Away. The two hour programme begins at 10am. For further information follow this link where you can listen again for seven days after broadcast.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Last Chance to See...

The Tom Phillips postcard exhibition Anonymous Celebrities, currently at the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead, closes next weekend. Final admission is at 1600 on Sunday 17th February. Here is Tom Phillips with Patrick Wildgust the curator of Shandy Hall, who chaired an informal discussion with the artist before an invited audience on the opening night.