December 1981

Dunsyre, : Wild Hawthorn Press, (1981)
12 x 12cm, 40pp plus card wrappers and printed photo-pictorial dust jacket.
Artist's book where Finlay has placed translations of the Anaximander Fragment (the earliest known extant philosophical thesis) opposite images of a broken classical column and its base found in the extended grounds of Little Sparta (then Stoneypath). The column was of course deliberately partly destroyed as the original artwork. The images, in b/w , were by Harvey Dwight.
The philosophers cited here are Diels, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Jaeger, Weil, Kahn, Kirk, Hussey, Burnet, Lloyd-Jones and Jaspers.
The fragment from Anaximander (600 BC) is a statement about how life has to make way for death out of necessity and each translation has subtle different meanings. Of course, the fact that only a tiny amount of the thoughts of Anaximander has survived into the present day is a mirror of the ruined (by intent) column.
The consideration of man's death is a major theme running through much of Finlay's output - and this falls heavily in the middle of his fascination of momento mori and similar works. VG+ example of a very scarce book.

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Dunsyre, : Wild Hawthorn Press, (1981)
17.8 x 13.9cm, light brown outer folder content of three 1pp sheets each with a concrete poem on them. The first two are on blue card and are presumably the two epicurian poems - the first has lines which represents a wafer surrounded by water (a wafer being a dry slice of something may be seen as land and the water as sea hence the whole an island), the second shows descending lines of water and one representing a bird swooping vertically down. These works remind one of a modern typographic equivalent of Apollinaire's calligrammes.
The final work is on orange paper (Finlay often used these colour combinations)and shows a triangle and a circle - the first is meant to be the scent of oranges, the second the scent of pears. The citrus of oranges is sharp like the corners of the triangle. This latter poem is meant to be a paradox and that is because of the shapes - the "Sharp" orange is not round while the pair is not a triangle which broadly is the shape of a pair..
Epicurean philosophy promoted simplicity, enjoyment and calmness as the way to a better life. In modern times the word is more associated with someone who enjoys food. Finlay seems to be happy with the simple life.
These works are usually placed in the artist's book section of Finlay's raisonne but there is a strong case for them to be small prints. But for now we have retained them in the former category. VG+ in like folder.

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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1981
9.7 x 5.7cm, 8pp plus printed red wrappers. Artist's book which lists two groups of names - the first Angelique, Tilleul, Pavot, Serpolet, Cheverefgeuille and Thym are listed as "a litany for Prairial". These are French names for herbs and Prairial is not only the Ninth revolutionary month (beginning in May) but also the time when the Law of 22 Prairial, also known as the loi de la Grande Terreur, was passed that gave power to the Committee of Public Safety that Robespierre turned into the dictatorship of the Terror. Herbs, of course, are picked and chopped up and consumed.
The second list "A requiem for Thermidor" has the names of the members of the Committee of Public Safety - Fleuriot, Hanriot, Couthon, Payan, Robespierre and Saint-Just. These were the victims of their own Terror when they were guillotined during the Thermidorian reaction (Robespierre went to his death in severe pain as he had tried to commit suicide only to partially blow off his own jaw in the attempt, Saint-Just was dignified and stoic).
The colours of the book papers are red, white and blue - the colours of the republic's tricolour.
The Litany is one of religious praise - here for the spring but with foreboding and foreshadowing of the destruction of the Terrorists. The requiem a cry of pain for the deposed leaders who killed so many by dictat.

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Chalon-sur-Saone, Maison de la Culture de Chalon-sur-Saone, 1981
30 x 21cm, 56pp plus card covers. Exhibition catalogue for a photographic exhibition which alongside Boltanski included Bernd and Hilla Becher, Jamesd Collins, Jan DIbbets, Ger van Elk, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Hamish Fulton, Gilbert & George, John Hilliard, Urs Luthi, Annette Messager, Peter Roehr and Ed Ruscha. Unusually each artist's work is displayed in colour but shot from a distance which shows how it is exhibited on a wall,
Boltanski's work are two photographs from the Composition Grotesques series. An extract from an artist's interview is reprinted at the back of the catalogue (from 1977). VG+.

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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1981
5 x 7cm, 4pp. One of Finlay's smallest cards - here with a drawing by Lucius Burckhardt of a face with a republican hat above a capital from a classical column. not the best sketch ever as it looks jumbled and hard to see but there you have it. Inside the card is one of Finlay's "definition" works - the double meaning of the "A REPUBLICAN CROWN" is joined with a quotation from Gerd Neumann about Callimachus the Greek poet of the disappearance of a capital which reads like word salad. You can take from the above that this is not my favourite of cards.

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Köln : Galerie Michael Werner,1981 21 x 30cm, single sheet of black paper folded into thirds with the tiny text : "JAMES LEE BYARS” on the middle of the sheet. Announcement paper sculpture. JOINT WITH Original printed envelope (mailed) which was addressed to the gallerist Morgan Thomas Butler. Both fine....

Amsterdam: Galerie Helen van der Meij, 1981 10.5 x 15cm, 1pp. Announcement card with the title text (the artist’s name) printed in tiny type on the front of the leaflet. Mailed example hand addressed by Byars to the Dutch poet Michael Gibbs. Fine but some marks from the mailing process....

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1981
17.8 x 12.1cm, 8pp plus printed card covers. By the 80s the press published small catalogues of new works and old stock. previously they had circulated single sheets or even xeroxes. This was a sign of increasing financial success and improvements in print technology/affordability). VG+

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Köln: Galerie Holtmann, 1981 10.4 x 14.8cm, 2pp announcement card for the title edition released in only 24 examples after the Rhein-Aktion by Nicolas Uriburu and Beuys. An image of the multiple bottle of poisoned water is reproduced on the front in lime green and black and verso a subscription form. VG+. ...