london

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Victoria Miro Gallery | 16 Wharf Road

Originally, this show was to have consisted entirely of new work by Ian Hamilton Finlay. But because of the artist’s many current commitments, particularly in Europe, the plans had to be modified and it became an exhibition of 22 works dating from 1966 to 1986. The effect was to stress the relevance of Finlay’s roots in the poetry of the ’60s to his present artistic activities. Curator Yves Abrioux, in his catalogue essay, remarks that Finlay’s works are “simultaneously authoritative and speculative,” echoing an often quoted statement of the artist on his efforts at concrete poetry: Finlay wrote in 1963 that he felt the theory of such poetry to be “a very essential part of our life and art; and yet I also feel that it is a construction, very haphazard, uncertain, and by no means as yet to be taken as definitive.”

The earliest works in the show—prints of the concrete poems Acrobats, Star/Steer

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