About Phil Davenport and 'Heart Shape Pornography'

Heart Shape Pornography

Heart Shape Pornography is a series of written on apples and placed around the Walker Art Gallery. The poems were created by cutting the shape of a heart out of a book of pornography and then using the words in the hearts to make poems. The results blur genders and power relationships, melt the distinctions between bodies. They have a haiku-like brevity and also share with haiku the sense of an eternal moment. Given their source, the pieces are surprisingly gentle.

Apples are symbols of desire and of corruption that appear throughout the artworks in Walker Art Gallery, so they felt like a very appropriate 'page' for these poems. Poems are situated in a large circle in the upstairs foyer and in bowls and singly in the High Victorian room and in Rooms 1 and 4, with the early collection. Some of the poems are also dotted around Walker Art Gallery website.

The poems allude to the act of looking, raising questions about the gaze and what this encompasses. They signpost the extraordinary, yet half-acknowledged, boundaries between public and private, male and female, erotic and obscene.

Philip Davenport

"My found poetry comes from ‘low’ sources: fashion magazines, pop journalism, missing persons notices, pornography. Part of the dynamic of my writing is to reclaim this material and to process it in various ways until it becomes poetry, ‘high’ culture."

Philip Davenport explores the space between poetry and visual art, often in collaboration with artists, designers, musicians. His collection Heart Shape Pornography, poems ‘reclaimed’ from porn, was first exhibited in 1998 in a book art exhibition, handwritten into a diary. The piece has been rewritten onto apples especially for the Ritual Bodies intervention in the Walker.

The Imaginary Missing People poems, made by collaging missing persons notices with his own diaries, were billposted in Manchester, London and Brighton in the period 1998-2001 as part of various art shows and were published by experimental poetry imprint Writers Forum in 1999.

In 2002, Davenport collaborated with transvestite artist Phil Sayers and designer Gary Parkinson to make the Vogue Divine poster and postcard series, distributed throughout Manchester as part of the 2002 Manchester Poetry Festival.

Throughout 2004, Davenport is Poet in Residence at Bury Art Gallery, where as well as writing poems he is helping to curate The Text, a festival of text art and experimental poetry in 2005.

You can contact Phil with your thoughts, art and poems on Ritual Bodies at philipjohndavenport@hotmail.com