Tom Phillips - 20 Slideshows

20 Slideshows

03. 57 Talford Road c. 10:50 am.

  • 1973

  • 1974

  • 1975

  • 1976

  • 1977

  • 1978

  • 1979

  • 1980

  • 1981

  • 1982

  • 1983

  • 1984

  • 1985

  • 1986

  • 1987

  • 1988

  • 1989

  • 1990

  • 1991

  • 1992

  • 1993

  • 1994

  • 1995

  • 1996

  • 1997

  • 1998

  • 1999

  • 2000

  • 2001

  • 2002

  • 2003

  • 2004

  • 2005

  • 2006

  • 2007

  • 2008

  • 2009

  • 2010

  • 2011

  • 2012

  • 2013

  • 2014

  • 2015

  • 2016

  • 2017

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My present studio, where I now write this, and, since 1984, my home (for the second time, for I lived here from 1961 to 1964) is a house bought by my mother in 1953.

Since this is my principal place of work I grew to feel that here I might be allowed to influence the photograph without betraying the general hands-off policy that governs 20 Sites as a whole. Thus, after 1976, the figures have been 'plants' and their passing an enactment. The first figure appears by accident in 1973 itself. Charles Kent the basement tenant is seen attending to his van. The theme is taken up in 1976 when Margaret, one half of Arbor Films, is the protagonist. It was in this year that the Arbor/Arts Council Film was made and although it does not finally feature 20 Sites there was to have been a whole section on the project and extensive footage still exists. It is only however in 1980 that I have systematically asked people to pass by for the necessary four or five times (which demonstrates how gradually the fixed elements of the project have evolved and may still evolve). In 1980 Anthea Toorchen is featured who had just come to work with me on the Dante book. In 1981 Pella Erskine-Tulloch. In 1982 Andy Gizauskas. In 1983 Leo guests as they say on American chat shows.

In 1985 Nick Tite (the car is the Polo mentioned in the account of Site 1). In 1986 Paul Webster (plus my newly rented car). In 1987 Julia Green (the blue Chrysler announces the presence of a new assistant, Maurice Watson). 1988 features Sylvia Sumira. My brand new/old Karmann-Ghia was stolen some days later, to be replaced by a KG type III, here being passed by Camilla Dixon and Maurice Watson in 1989, by Andy Gizauskas and Ian Hays in 1990 and by Lucy Shortis and John Duffin in 1991. In 1992 Alice Wood makes a solo appearance while the car lurks in the driveway and Leo's new Renault is on display). Thus my transport and my helpers come and go.

The other reference to transport crops up in 1989 when the sudden threat of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link menaces the neighbourhood with blight and disruption. A notice appears in the window above the garage crying 'Sink the Link', to be joined in 1990 by a more emphatic graphic telling British Rail to 'B-R OFF', which (after much pressure) they did, in 1991.

As a historical footnote I ought to point out that Nick Tite is carrying a Filofax which had not quite then become a yuppy symbol. Perhaps soon a secondary historical note will be necessary to explain this first.

The house number that appears in 1977 (together with a muted jubilee display) is put on by me with stencils bought in Cincinnati earlier that year. These are replaced in 1986, symptomatically, by my own handlettered numbers.

At the start of the work I only occupy the left hand first floor room. In 1977 I acquired the other first floor room and in 1978 made one studio of the two rooms. In 1980 I also took over the ground floor room and the garage which became a litho studio for the production of Dante's Inferno.

The tree is pruned by various cowboys but rapidly reasserts itself and blocks the light in the studio. It receives an almost mortal blow in 1992 when behind it a more elegant Gingko is planted above my mother's ashes.

(For obvious reasons of convenience a coffee break is taken here.)