FINLAY (Ian Hamilton). [4 COLONNES, 8 AFFICHES POUR L ABBAYE CISTERCIENNE DE L EPAU ÉTÉ, 1986, WILD HAWTHORN PRESS · LITTLE SPARTA 4 COLUMNS, 8 POSTERS FOR THE CISTERCIAN ABBEY OF L EPAU: SUMMER 1986] Original print portfolio. Folder of heavy white card printed with dark brown titles. Enclosed are nine poster prints, each of 640 x 420 mm, printed on beige or deep brown wove paper with three to five quotations litho printed on each in dark brown. A full list of the texts are available on request. French and English text. Stonypath, Little Sparta, Wild Hawthorn Press, 1986. The folder is lightly creased along the upper left side, yellowed and foxed at the edges while the prints inside are fine, bright and crisp. Copies are held in the collections at Tate and MACBA. A suite of posters published on the occasion of the exhibition L Art et le Sacre Aujourd hui in 1986 at the Cistercian Abbey in L Epau, France, where the texts were intended to be installed on four columns inside the abbey building. Each poster leaf is printed with three to five quotations from the speeches of Louis-Antoine Saint-Just, interspersed with aphorisms by Finlay composed as Imaginary Speeches for the revolutionary. Following the tone of Saint-Just s appeal for a community of affections , Finlay s imaginary discourses ground the revolutionary ideal in the homely and small-scale: Justice is a cottage industry. Teapots are the navels of happy house-holds. Revolutions dethrone Kings and enthrone Columns and Watering-cans. Every statement has been printed in a different font giving a vigorous emphasis and weight on the page. The Cistercian Abbey in L Epau was an important site during the French revolution, coming close to destruction and for a time being transformed into an agricultural outbuilding surrounded by gardens. There is an inevitable comparison between L Epau and IHF s own classical garden at Little Sparta. For Finlay the historical site grants permission to imagine his favourite revolutionary Saint-Just amongst columns and watering cans.
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