Film: 5872

Art + Architecture | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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A analysis of the life and work of the artist Tom Phillips 1970's

Street scenes of Peckham Rye, South London in the 1970's. Summer day, cars, shops and pedestrians. Title page(s) of the novel A Human Document by W.H.Mallock, from which Tom Phillips has been working from. Film of Phillips sitting at desk discussing the novel, elbow on table, chin propped up by fist. He has shoulder length brown hair, slightly greying beard and open necked shirt. Behind him are two full and cluttered shelves, with various objects sitting on top. Continues discussing book and his work. Shot of a page of the New Statesman, American Report dated 23 December 1966. Zoom in on area of text in which Phillips has sectioned off or boxed certain words with red and black ink. Shot of page 7 of A Human Document before and after Phillips had sectioned off certain words and drawn lines over remaining text. Various examples of similar work, both black and colour covering most words. Futher discussion of work and a visual example of how Phillips folded a page of a book onto another page to change meaning of text. Several examples of colour images drawn onto a page with some related text left visable. Pan across shelf containing ten books, the art work; A Humument by Tom Phillips taken/made from and using the book A Human Document. Colour poster Phillips designed for The New National Theatre, achieved with a similar use of text. A picture of the Theatre is at the bottom of the poster with a Union Jack as background. Other examples of colour painting over text, enough of the text is left visable to suggest part of a different story. Head and shoulders shot of Phillips discussing work. B/W photographs of both W.H.Mallock and Phillips intersperced with images of printed text. Contemporary colour film of Euston Train Station, London, and hurrying passengers. Shots inside the station, passengers walking, approaching top of escalators, part view of newsagents. Full shot of colour postcard; a swimming pool in Battersea Park, London, people seated and standing around poolside, children in water. Two views of a page in Phillips' sketch-book, both diagams and writing. Full shot and close-up of two other postcards; Central Gardens, Bournemouth and Prospect Gardens, Harrogate. Two illustrated pages from "16th-18th Century emblem books", close up panning. Phillips talks the viewer through a diagram from empty canvas to what will eventually be a painting, made using images from postcards. Colour film of people sitting on benches in parks, other people walking past. Several close-up shots of Phillips' reproduction paintings of one small part of postcard, a flower. Various B/W paintings based on musical opera; "Irma". Pan of orchestra playing or practising in a hall with conductor and recording instuments, shots of related image and word paintings and line drawings. Film of Phillips painting in his studio, in front of cluttered table. Top to bottom view of three finished long,thin paintings, which have a striped and weaved appearance with text at the bottom of the first two paintings. Phillips talking to camera, two paintings behind,large sheet of drawn music on right of screen. B/W photographs of Phillips and nine other students from his days at Oxford University, other B/W photographs of him alone. Shot of a postcard Phillips got in 1970 of the inside of a Sheffield art gallery; pillars on both ends, a small bronze in foreground and a group of paintings on wall behind. Close-up of the blurred paintings in the background. Shot of a watercolour reproduction by Phillips of a small area of postcard; a painting on the back wall. A combination of shots based on paintings in gallery postcard; B/W blurred images from original photograph, blurred tinted images from postcard, coloured images from the actual paintings and shots of Phillips' finished painting of the gallery wall taken from postcard. Footage of Phillips walking from his front door to his studio half a mile away, quiet residential London streets with occassional car and other pedestrians. For a short time during this walk, in the middle section of the screen, flashes an alphabet made up of images of letters found on signs and on various other street objects. Pan around the walls of Phillips' studio, life-drawings on one wall, various labels stuck on the other. Phillips at work on a print, working from wrappers and wallpaper. Shots of Phillips and assistant working on another print on a long table, and at screen printing press. Phillips and assistants/printers discussing techniques while lookind at several prints. Shots of work in progress. Pan of his wall at home, hung with wooden African masks and standing statues. Shot of a Phillips painting based on African statue or sculpture. At work on printing press, several shots of minimalist prints based on African masks, B/W and coloured versions. Phillips sitting at desk flipping through selection of old coloured postcards. Footage of Phillips infront of white wall, drawing on a large piece of white paper with charcoal, large scale work in progress. Colour stills of the work at each stage as he draws on then removes marks, reversing the process and returning the paper to a blank sheet of paper which he then projects the film of the work onto.

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