Thursday, May 24, 2007

Forthcoming exhibitions and events

The Tom Phillips Dante Archive is featured both in the Bodleian Library's 2007 summer exhibition, Italy's Three Crowns: Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio and the accompanying publication of the same name. The exhibition will be open from 19 June to 31 October in the Exhibition Room, Old Schools Quadrangle, Catte Street, Oxford. Admission is free.

Another Dante exhibition opens in August 2007 at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, entitled Dante Rediscovered: Blake to Rodin. Though largely confined to the 18th and 19th centuries it will show two works by TP; a portrait drawing and a copy of the Talfourd Press Dante edition. The exhibition will also include works by Blake, Fuseli, Rossetti and Byron and Shelley manuscripts.

Recent prints by TP appear in an exhibition of work by Royal Academicians at the 108 Gallery in Harrogate 23rd June to 14th July 2007.

This year TP has designed the cover of the Garsington Opera programme and a limited number TP's prints will be available for sale at the box office tent during the Garsington Opera Season from the 9th June to the 9th July 2007

Works by TP will appear in Eye-Music: Klee, Kandinsky and all that Jazz, an exhibition about music in art at Pallant House 30 June - 16 September 2007

TP will be speaking at the British Library on Monday 24th September 2007 on the subject of Wagner and Popular Art. This is the first event in a special season at the British Library accompanying the Ring Cycle at the Royal Opera House.

An exhibition of new works by Tom Phillips will open at Flowers New York in the autumn.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Library at Elsinore II

Here is an illicit sneak preview of The Library at Elsinore as it appears in Gallery II of the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition. The mock bookcase contains real books overpainted in grey with titles borrowed from Hamlet in black. These are titles of actual books by actual authors in order of the apprearance of their words in the play. There must of course be more no doubt being borrowed as I write but these are all that my research has turned up. Most are (rightly I presume) obscure but others are by known writers from Lloyd George to Graham Greene with, most recently, Alan Bennett's Single Spies (Simon Callow suggested, he claims, this brilliant choice of title).

There is in fact a real library at the real castle of Elsinore. Its curator has shown an interest in exhibiting this phantom work.

Shandy Hall is in prospect and who knows but that the Folger may live up to its name and follow suit.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Library at Elsinore

The Library at Elsinore (Fragment), 2006.

Shakespeare on a visit to the castle at Elsinore is to have an audience with the King. He is set to wait in its ample library for the summons into the royal presence. He finds himself alone there except for two rather overdressed courtiers who seem already to have been waiting for some time. He idly scans the shelves and takes down a book whose nicely ambiguous title, A Show of Violence, intrigues him. Its contents, however, seem of little interest. Replacing it he notices that the subsequent books on the shelf all have titles equally suggestive of emotion, escapade and death. So is it also on the shelves below. As if in a dream the titles conjure up, one after another, a sequence of speeches and events in a play.
As he reaches for the last book on the fifth shelf, Casual Slaughter, the door of the library opens. The courtiers look hopefully up but it is Shakespeare that the steward invites to follow him.
After his audience with the King, Shakespeare is returned to the library to await the coachman. He eagerly makes for the same shelves only to find that they contain a dull series of tracts and biblical commentaries...
Some such scenario or dumb show is the conceit behind a long planned installation, The Library at Elsinore, whose bookcase Andy has just finished constructing. I have been loading its shelves with the books I have prepared over the last few months and which have been lying in rows and piles around the studio.
Last year at the Ashmolean Museum I showed a maquette of a single shelf which contained all the titles (of actual books) that derive from Hamlet's speech, To be or not to be.....
Now the whole play is covered and next week as one of the hangers of the Summer Exhibition at the RA I hope to find a nice corner for it.