Ian Hamilton Finlay

  • Ian Hamilton Finlay
  • Work

Ian Hamilton Finlay, 2014, Exhibition view, Sfeir-Semler Gallery BeirutSfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut, 2014

Ian Hamilton Finlay (b. 1925, Nassau, Bahamas; d. 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland) studied at the Glasgow School of Art and was a poet, a gardener and an artist. Oftentimes he combined his passions, for example when composing a poem to be inscribed into stone and put as a sculpture into a natural environment. Themes of Finlay’s oeuvre, regardless of the medium, are classical literature from the ancient world, the French Revolution or the „Third Reich“. Also the motives of fishing, sailboats and guillotines are recurring. The execution of Finlays work was often left to „collaborators“ (other artists, craftsmen or illustrators) whom he would always mention notably. By Finlay’s skilled use of syntax and story telling, sophisticated by his lyrical philosophy, he breaks down complex issues into coherent notions and phrases, that drip of his wit and dry humor.      

Many of Finlays works are accessible to the public in public spaces, mostly in Europe. Finlay has partaken in many national and international exhibitions in museums and galleries since the 1970s. He had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Bremen (2008), Tate Britain (2004), the Scottish National Gallery of Art in Edinburgh (2001) or the Joan Miro Foundation Barcelona (1999). He participated at the documenta 8 (1987) and the 1. Biennale de Montréal Canada (1998). Finlay was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1985.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2014 Terra Mare, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
2008 Ian Hamilton Finlay - Druckgrafik, Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany
2007 Letters & numbers, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
Victoria Miro Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2006 Kewenig Galerie, Cologne, Germany
Stampa, Basel, Switzerland
2005 David Nolan Gallery, New York, USA
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2004 souvenirs, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
Art of the Garden, Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom
Ian Hamilton Finlay Prints, 1963-2004, Pine Weber Gallery, New York, USA
2003 Idylls and Interventions, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Maritime Works, Nolan/Eckman Gallery, New York, USA 
2002 Maritime Works, Tate St. Ives, United Kingdom
Blast to Freeze, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany  
2001 Souvenirs – Postcards by Ian Hamilton Finlay, The Scottish National Gallery of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland
2000 Garden Works, Nolan/ Eckman Gallery, New York, USA
Ian Hamilton Finlay/ Richard Tuttle, Stampa, Basel, Switzerland Nature over again after Poussin, McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
1999 Variation on Several Themes, Joan Miro Foundation, Barcelona, Spain  
1998 Modern Antiquities, Landesmuseum, Mainz, Germany  
1997 Wild Hawthorn Press, Academie Beeldende Kunsten, Maastricht, Netherlands
Prints 1963 - 1997, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany
1995 Inscriptions, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Kiel, Germany
Works: Pure and Political, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany  
1993 Wildwachsende Blumen, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany  
1991 Malerisamling Lillehammer, Norway
Ideologische Äusserungen, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany
Definitions, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Kiel, Germany
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
Tate Gallery, Liverpool, United Kingdom
1990 Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland
Christine Burgin, New York, USA
Holzwege, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany 
1989 1789 – 1794, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany  
1988 Musee d’Art Contemporain, Dunkerque, France  
1987 Inter Artes et Naturam, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
Midway, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France  
1986 Marat Assasine and other works, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1980 Rijksmuseum Kroller-Mueller, Otterlo, Netherlands  
1977 Serpentine Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1974 National Maritime Museum, London, United Kingdom
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 Gallery 3010, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
Bert de Beul, Elger Esser, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
2008 Ian Hamilton Finlay, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom
Barbican London, United Kingdom
2007 Camden Arts Centre, London, United Kingdom
Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, Germany
Stroom, Den Haag, Netherlands
Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany
Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany
Augarten Contemporary, Vienna, Austria
2006 Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Tate Triennial, London, United Kingdom
2005 Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, USA
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
2004 Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, Scotland
Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom
2003 Mamco – muse d’art moderne et contemporain, Genf, Switzerland
2002 Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
2000 Tomorow for ever, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
Encounters, National Gallery London, United Kingdom  
1999 Heads will Roll, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, United Kingdom  
1998 Les Capteurs de rêves, 1re Biennale de Montréal, Canada  
1997 Material Culture, Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom  
1996 Schwere-Los - Skulpturen, Landesmuseum Linz, Austria  
1995 LapisLazuli & Gold, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Kiel, Germany  
1994 Das Jahrhundert des Multiple, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany  
1993 Words, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Kiel & Hamburg, Germany
Konfrontation, Museum Moderner Kunst, Groningen, Netherlands
Die Sprache der Kunst, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria 
1991 Rhetorical Image, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, USA
1990 Allegorie, Sfeir- Semler Gallery, Kiel, Germany
British Art Now: A Subjective View, Stagaya Art Museum, Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan
1989 Prospect ´89, Frankfurter Kunstverein/Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
Buhnen Stucke, Kunstverein Munich, Germany
Freiheit- Gleichheit – Brüderlichkeit, Germanisches Nationalmuseuem, Nürnberg, Germany  
1988 Starlit Waters, British Sculpture 1968-88, Tate Gallery Liverpool, United Kingdom
1987 Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany 
1983 Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom