Finlay gained recognition in the early 1960s as a concrete poet. At that time he made his first poem-objects, that is, poems whose meaning is expressed through their physical form as well as through the words used. This and his subsequent work has extended poetry is to the realm of sculpture. In 'A Wartime Garden' Finlay juxtaposes images of modern warfare with words evoking pastoral themes and texts by the classical philosopher Plotinus and the nineteenth century writers, Hegel, Feuerbach and Novalis. These references to different stages of civilisation create a cultural continuum. At the same time, the disparities between image and text invest the objects depicted with new and surprising connotations.
Gallery label, August 2004
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