Ian Hamilton Finlay, Detail: Carrier Strike, 1977
At the heart of Ingleby Gallery's exhibition for the 2012 Edinburgh Art Festival is a re-discovered moment of genius by the late great Ian Hamilton Finlay. Carrier Strike (1977) is a classic Finlayesque clash of the heroic and the domestic: in this case, an epic air/sea battle played out on the surface of an ironing board. Photographed by Carl Heideken and set to music by John Purser, the ironing board becomes an aircraft carrier, surrounded by destroyer irons, and small model planes amongst cotton wool clouds. Like all Finlay's best work, ideas are layered deep and delivered with gentle humour.
Ian Hamilton Finlay's place in the history of twentieth century art seems more central with every passing year as new generations of artists begin to understand the importance of his singular and uncompromising spirit. Ingleby Gallery's exhibition this summer will be the first of several Finlay celebrations for 2012; followed most notably by a major presentation of Finlay's work in Brazil, at the São Paulo Biennale in September, and in London at Tate Britain in November. Throughout this summer's Edinburgh Art Festival the Little Sparta Trust will run bus tours from the Ingeby Gallery to Finlay's hilltop home in the Pentland Hills, site of Little Sparta - the garden that cradles so many of his artistic ideas and which is in itself amongst the very greatest of twentieth century Scottish artworks.