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Philip West. Bestiary

Eugenio Granell Foundation
September, 26 – February, 09

Born in York in 1949. Philip West was an authentic product of British Surrealism, even though he wasn’t born until after the dispersion of the original group formed by E.L.T. Messens and Roland Penrose and his entire oeuvre was created after the beginning of the 1970s. To start with he’d belonged to the small group formed by the writer John Lyle around his review TRANSFORMAcTION, then collaborated with the Dutch magazine Brumes Blondes, and it was through the later that he began in 1973 to participate in the various manifestations of Phases, notably in France, Holland, Portugal and Belgium. Soon afterwards he left his native country for Spain, then Venezuela and, returning to Spain, participated in Surrealist activities there, notably in liaison with Eugenio F. Granell. Due to his fondness for the object and for a particular kind of bestiary, West was to inscribe himself in the line of René Magritte and Toyen. The delectable equations he put forward indicate the best –though not necessarily the shortest – way for the spectator to proceed from the open heart to the knife whose blade is a chain of mountains. Entitled “Avis Mundi” , his 1996 exhibition in Zaragoza consisted of polychyches divided into equal or unequal compartments in which different scenes unfold where, for instance. Halley’s Cornet (or some other) blazes a trail between the Paris map and a Zuñi sand painting. West’s eyes was quick to discover infinite galaxies of images which posit the most disturbing analogies through the simple confrontation of two or three contradictory, or sometimes complementary images. For him, the most illegibles rebuses were often the most beautiful . In losing Philip we have lost a fearless explorer of nonsense.
Edouard Jaguer “For Philip West”. Philip West. El legado de un artista. Fundación Eugenio Granell, 1998, Santiago de Compostela.