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Rosebud

Rosebud

mixed media
92.5 x 172.5 x 20 cm
1997

Notes on this work

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Tom Phillips' sculpture Rosebud was exhibited at the third Free Radicals exhibition at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design in 2003.

The work recalls the dying word in Citizen Kane. Other works throughout Phillips' career take their inspiration from that famed utterance, including versions of A Humument and Curriculum Vitae.

The artist's use of text in Rosebud is one in a long line of language drawings and sculptures, including Wittgenstein's Dilemma Inverted (1999) and Miami Beach (1986).

The text in this work diverges from conventional typography at the line breaks. A final letter within a given line of text is split vertically to size, rather than remain whole via justification or hyphenization. Phillips uses the remaining right-hand portion of the letter to begin the following line.

This Protean approach to textblock construction has long been featured in Phillips' work, including Ein Deutsches Requiem (1971) and The Skin Game (1974).

The media themselves echo other pieces in the Phillips ouevre. The reverse-palimpsest of mud over printed ephemera reference his earthy Peckham Heads (1994-97) and his quilts Women's Work and Manpower (both 1997) composed entirely of prostitutes' advertising cards collected from London phone boxes.

John Pull, 2003