Michael Phillips
The Democracy of Disease (2012)

The mystery of disease, the mystery of identity and place and time are combined in Phillips’ book. The pages have been made by two overprints on make-ready sheets in blue.

In the first overprint (purple) pathology slides documenting various diseases of the human urological system have been scanned and used for imagery commenting on the mystery of the democracy of disease. On each slide in a small neat hand is the patient’s name next to images of their failing organs and tissue.

The second overprint was made from negatives found in a tobacco tin at a London flea market. The identity of the people and places in the negatives and the decade they were made remain a mystery. Did they document a holiday taken by two bothers and friends? somewhere in the Mediterranean? in the 1930s? Phillips adds the subject of diseases to the mystery. The scanned negatives are used in the second overprint (orange/brown).

The plain white cover with title in black belies the richness of the images, which entice the viewer to enter the mystery of the democracy of disease.
Offset and digitally printed. 21.0 x 14.0 cm. Published for exhibition Lessons in History Vol. II – Democracy held at grahame galleries + editions 2012. Signed and numbered. Edition of 50.


Lessons in History Vol. II: Democracy, numero uno publications, grahame galleries + editions, Brisbane. pp. 61-2 (illustrated).
Une histoire du livre d’artiste australien, catalogue to accompany an exhibition of Australian artists’ books, Cabinet Du Livre d’artiste, Renne, France, numero uno publications, grahame galleries + editions, Brisbane, pp. 40-1 (illustrated)