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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the interviews category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Here’s a tiny little interview with Ian Hamilton Finlay, concrete poetry pioneer, gardener, artist; first in original fax form, then as text, with (repetitive) questions restored.

(Click to view full-size)

1. Prose, poetry, sculpture, gardening - do you see these as different, discrete disciplines, or do you see your work as a whole that happens to be expressed in different media?

Working in different mediums has never been a problem, that is to say, a question, to me, so I have no answer to your question.

2. Little Sparta - from the garden’s name on, Little Sparta seems to be rich with allusion and reference - is it a garden in a traditional sense, or a large scultpure, a space to exhibit, a sort of literary work, a little utopia? What were your aims when planning and creating Little Sparta?

Little Sparta is a garden in the traditional sense. It is perhaps not like other modern gardens, but I think that other times would have had no difficulty with it. It is emphatically not a ‘sculpture garden’ as might be thought. My aim was always to make a garden but I was not influenced by the example of other gardens round about (as it were) but of gardens as traditionally understood. I was genuinely surprised when people found difficulty in accepting it as a garden rather than as a literary work or whatever.

3. Following on from 1 and 2, the show at Inverlieth House seems to blend different types of artistic practice too - what prompted the idea of having a show made of sentences? Is the show to be seen as a companion piece to the garden, or a reflection on it? Has the setting of Inverlieth House had a bearing on the work?

Inverleith House seemed a perfect setting for an exhibition of sentences. I admit that an exhibition of sentences is perhaps unusual but just becuase a thing is unusual doesn’t mean it is wrong. The sentences had their origin in my gardening and the reader/viewer must make his or her own mind up as to whether an exhibition of sentences is reasonable or not.

Posted at 4pm on 11/07/05 by Jack Mottram to the interviews category.
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  1. very cool

    Posted by fin at 5am on 12.07.05

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