M HKA gaat digitaal

Met M HKA Ensembles zetten we onze eerste échte stappen in het digitale landschap. Ons doel is met behulp van nieuwe media de kunstwerken nog beter te kaderen dan we tot nu toe hebben kunnen doen.

We geven momenteel prioriteit aan smartphones en tablets, m.a.w. de in-museum-ervaring. Maar we zijn evenzeer hard aan het werk aan een veelzijdige desktop-versie. Tot het zover is vind je hier deze tussenversie.

M HKA goes digital

Embracing the possibilities of new media, M HKA is making a particular effort to share its knowledge and give art the framework it deserves.

We are currently focusing on the experience in the museum with this application for smartphones and tablets. In the future this will also lead to a versatile desktop version, which is now still in its construction phase.

A Humument, 1980-2012

Book, 17.5 x 12.5 cm, 367 p, language: English, publisher: Thames and Hudson, ISBN: 9780500290439.

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2026/131).

Literary synopsis

The artist writes, “I took a forgotten novel found by chance. I mined, and undermined its text to make it yield alternative stories, erotic incidents and surrealist catastrophes, which lurk within its wall of words. I replaced with visual images the text I’d stripped away. It began to tell, amongst other memories, dreams and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties.” Within this small format Tom Phillips has made the arts connect, bringing Wagner’s idea of “a comprehensive work of art” to pocketbook proportions. It is considered by many in the words of Bill Hurrell, the “defining masterpiece of postmodernism.”

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Tom Phillips began work on A Humument in 1966. He bought the first threepenny novel he came across in a furniture repository on Peckham Rye, South London, where Blake saw his first angels. This was A Human Document by W. H. Mallock, a novel originally published in 1892. By 1973 the artist had reworked all its 367 pages by drawing, painting, and collaging over its text to create an entirely new ‘treated book’, a world complete with its own characters, visual and textual poetry and interweaving non-linear narratives. A Humument was first published in book form in 1980, and rapidly became a cult classic. Several editions, each with progressive revisions, have been published and in 2011 the artist created A Humument App with an interactive ‘oracle’ feature. This edition incorporates more than 80 new pages and now in its forty fifth year the project continues to be a work in progress.

Novel's website

Add to your list


>treated book page, 2011

>treated book page, 2012

>treated book page, 2013

>App on iPad, 2013

>(Fifth Edition), pub. Thames & Hudson 2012

>A Humument at MassMOCA. Exhibition view. 2013-2014


> Tom Phillips.

Exhibitions & Ensembles

> Exhibition: The Preparation of the Novel (Book Lovers 5.0). Fabra i Coats - Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, 18 July 2014 - 05 September 2014.

> Ensemble: The Artist's Novel.