AboutVictoria 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 works, display Finlay's adroitness in exploring the written word's materiality.
Ian Hamilton Finlay was at heart a poet, whose prose, rooted in the concrete poetry movement, finds its sublime presentation within the visual field. Informed by numerous sources, his work operates within a context of literature, mythology and classicism. Finlay's ongoing endeavour throughout his lifetime of practice was to expand, liberate and challenge our understanding and perception of the written word, its limitations and its role in unspoken, communicative and aesthetic exchange. He achieved this through poetry rendered in many materials and forms.
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.
This exhibition reveals how Finlay plays with our presuppositions and undermines our very understanding of language. His Definitions are interspersed at considered at precisely choreographed points through the exhibition, initiating a narrative journey for the visitor through the consideration of text and object. No visitor's reading shall be the same, as these open-ended propositions allow for endless interpretations of work and meaning. The intricate and multi-layered relationships established between language, text, object and visitor are integral to an enduring search for the pure, which prevailed within Finlay's practice