Tom Philips is one of those leading artists not bound to a personal style or signature methodology. His work is fascinating, various, eclectic and always just right. A Humument is an experiment. It involves creating new texts and readings from an existing book, in this case A Human Document by W.H. Mallock – an obscure novel that Philips bought for 3 pence in a Furniture Repository in Peckham Rye.
“Like most projects that ended up lasting half a lifetime, this work started out as idle play at the fringe of my work and preoccupations. I had read an interview with William Burroughs (Paris Review 1965) and, as a result, had played with the “cut-up” technique, making my own variant (the column-edge poem) from current copies of the New Statesman. It seemed a good idea to push these devices into more ambitious service. “