Skip to main content

Ian Hamilton Finlay

City Art Centre, Edinburgh until March 6th
3 stars
There’s something slightly claustrophobic seeing Ian Hamilton Finlay’s
work indoors. As anyone who’s basked in the glories of the radical
polymath’s Little Sparta garden in Lanarkshire will be aware, Hamilton
Finlay was so at one with nature that a civic gallery space doesn’t
seem right somehow.

This first floor exhibition sets a small selection of works alongside
complimentary material by fellow travelers Paolozzi, George Wylie,
Nathan Coley and Kenny Hunter, with two recently acquired sculptures as
its apparent centerpiece. An entire wall is devoted to Martyn
Greenhalgh’s moodily serene photographs of Little Sparta itself.

As if confirming a life-long quest for somewhere purer, sailing boats
are to the fore among Hamilton Finlay’s classicist allusions. Of the
newly acquired works, ‘Two Temples: To Apollo His Music-His
Missiles-His Music’ consists of two biscuit-tin size slate drums. The
title piece is carved with the same wording as that of the Garden
Temple at Little Sparta, while its companion piece, ‘CN16’, features a
fishing boat. Together, the pair could be pillars for the grandest of
model villages.

Odd, then, that they’re tucked around the corner from the main
exhibition, leaving the actual focal point a bold text-based piece on
the far wall. If the words ‘REVOLUTION, VIRTUE, ELOQUENCE,
TRANSPARENCY’ sum up a lifetime’s philosophy, it’s left to a small work
depicting languid picnickers basking among the greenery to capture the
simple joy of it. ‘Oh Nature,’ reads its caption, ‘How Sublime and
Delightful is Your Power.’

The list, February 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …