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Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

Please note we are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Exhibition

Beauty and Revolution: The Poetry and Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay

6 December 2014 – 1 March 2015

The exhibition, devised by Professor Bann and coming from his private collection, traced Ian Hamilton Finlay’s artistic development from the poems that made him Britain’s most internationally acclaimed concrete poet to the images and texts that marked his engagement with the ideas of the French Revolution.

This event has passed. FREE, come along

The Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) first met and began to correspond with Jim Ede, the founder of Kettle’s Yard in 1964, “Ede and Finlay were wary friends, and the exhibition is a vibrant dialogue between two opposing approaches to art”, The Financial Times (December 2014). In the same year, a group of Cambridge students had started to exhibit and write about his work. Among the students was Stephen Bann who went on to become an expert on the artist.

The exhibition, devised by Professor Bann and coming from his private collection, traced Ian Hamilton Finlay’s artistic development from the poems that made him Britain’s most internationally acclaimed concrete poet to the images and texts that marked his engagement with the ideas of the French Revolution. It also presented his famous garden, Little Sparta, in photographs and film.

Visitors could explore this collection of often vividly coloured and beautifully designed standing and folding poems, prints, cards, emblems and inscriptions. Ian Hamilton Finlay’s works range from the witty and whimsical to the dark and thought-provoking. Recurring themes include classical writers, maritime subjects, the French Revolution and war.

The exhibition was accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. You can buy this catalogue here.

Gallery

Reviews

This is a modest, gentle, rewarding show, enlivened by Finlay’s loquacious letters to Bann that reveal his thought processes.

RIBA Journal, December 2014

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