Ian Hamilton Finlay

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About the Artist

A philosopher, sculptor and poet, Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) reinvigorated the classical tradition in a body of work that encompasses a variety of creative forms to celebrate the sustaining power of words. His diverse production encompassed a variety of creative forms including prints, poems, books, inscriptions, neons, sculptures, permanent installations and landscape design. The purest kind of conceptual artist, Finlay was sensitive to the formalist concerns (colour, shape, scale, texture, composition) of literary and artistic modernism. For almost forty years, he formed his works using philosophical texts, myths, characters and images from the past to make enigmatic juxtapositions and in so doing new thoughts. Finlay's adept use of syntax and narrative configuration weaved refined distinctions with a lyrical philosophy. His skill lay in his unique ability to break down complex ideas into coherent single words and short phrases, infused with Finlay's characteristic wit and, often, wry humour.

  • A tour through the 2015 exhibition 1789 - 1794 at Victoria Miro

     

    The exhibition included a range of Finlay's Revolutionary works, including the imposing eleven metre carved relief The Sound of Running Water, 1990, which was shown in the Bienal de São Paulo in 2012. This work features an evocative line that could serve as the introduction to themes of poetry and politics, and of beauty and immanence in the artist's work: THE SOUND OF RUNNING WATER HEARD THROUGH THE CHINKS IN A STONE DYKE: REVOLUTION.

  • Previous exhibitions at Victoria Miro

    23 September - 5 November 2016

    Protest

    Doug Aitken, Jules de Balincourt, Vlassis Caniaris, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Christian Holstad, Isaac Julien, Yayoi Kusama, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Chris Ofili, Richard Prince, Sarah Sze, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Kara Walker Historical and...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    10 June - 31 July 2015

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    1789 1794
    An exhibition of the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) marking the 90th anniversary of the artist's birth. A philosopher, sculptor, poet and gardener, Finlay drew on and reinvigorated the classical tradition. This exhibition, curated by Pia Maria Simig, features...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    5 May - 1 June 2011

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Definitions
    Victoria Miro Gallery is delighted to present a unique juxtaposition of Ian Hamilton Finlay's sculpture and a series of text works, termed Definitions. These Definitions present Finlay's own interpretations of the meanings of words, and in conjunction with related sculptural...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    30 March - 12 May 2007

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    The Sonnet is a Sewing-Machine for the Monostich
    The Sonnet is a Sewing-Machine for the Monostich is the largest ever presentation of Finlay's rarely seen neon works, which date back to the early seventies and run parallel to his better-known inscriptions on stone. In his essay to accompany...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    27 June - 2 August 2003

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Idylls and Interventions
    Idylls and Interventions brings together a number of Finlay's seminal series of prints along with a major new work and recent sculptures. The exhibition is conceived by Ian Hamilton Finlay and Pia Maria Simig. Ian Hamilton Finlay is principally a...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    7 May - 30 June 2000

    Raw

    Group Exhibition
    Yayoi Kusama. Francesca Woodman, Robin Lowe, Adriana Varejão, Isaac Julien, Doug Aitken, Abigail Lane, Hadrian Pigott, Brad Lochore, Cecily Brown, Chris Ofili, Andreas Gursky, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Inez van Lamsweerde, Peter Doig, Thomas Demand, Stephen Willats, Dawn Mellor, Chantal Joffe,...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    14 September - 9 October 1998

    Heads Will Roll

    Group Exhibition
    Ian Hamilton Finlay, Robin Lowe, Dawn Mellor, Lars Nilson, Chris Ofili, Keir Smith Ian Hamilton Finlay continues his exploration of the French Revolution acknowledging its importance as a corner-stone of modernism and democracy in the West. As concrete poet and...
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    19 May - 19 June 1998

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    This exhibition of benches by Ian Hamilton Finlay coincides with the inauguration of a series of permanently placed sculptures – eight benches, a tree plaque and a large circular inscription of the names of trees found in Kensington Gardens –...
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    31 October - 2 December 1995

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    5 - 28 July 1995

    Temples

    Group Exhibition
    Juren Albrecht, Bernd & Hiller Becher, Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Alex Hartley, Keir Smith, Stephen Willats
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    29 June - 29 July 1994

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Ian Hamilton Finlay and Pia Maria Simig
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    14 February - 3 April 1992

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    With Annet Stirling - 10 Maquettes for Neo-Classical Structures
    Ian Hamilton Finlay with Annet Stirling - 10 Maquettes for Neo-Classical Structures.
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    17 October - 21 December 1991

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    A Wartime Garden
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    15 May - 30 June 1990

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Idylls
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    14 July - 29 August 1987

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Works 1966 - 1986
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    29 May - 5 July 1986

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Marat Assassiné Vitruvius/Augustus-Vitruvius/Robespierre Ideological Accessories
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
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