F E S T I V A L EPREVIEWE An artist and garden designer of international renown, IAN HAMILTON FINLAY is also Britain’s foremost ‘concrete poet’, and a fierce opponent of some aspects of contemporary culture. Andrew Gibbon Williams previews the first
major retrospective of Finlay’s printed work with The Wild Hawthorn Press.
an Hamilton Finlay has the reputation of being an irascible man; a difficult and esoteric artist. When you visit him and his idyllic garden at Stonypath near Dunsyre such prejudices dissolve. Finlay is a generous and charming host, voluble, articulate, intensely enthusiastic about his various projects — in short, a civilised man; the sort of man who would have been at ease in an 18th-century coffee shop. At
Stonypath, in the context of the landscape Finlay has composed, his off-beat inscriptions and the cryptic sculptural forms which bewilder in reproduction make perfect sense.
It is from his apparent rural isolation at Stonypath that Finlay conducts his frequently vitriolic campaign against the debasement ofcivilised values by contemporary culture. He sees it as a war —
The Present Order, 1983. in stone, with Nicholas Sloan. trom the garden at Stonypath.
_ , ._J The List9— 15 August 199111