May 1988

Madrid, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 1988
23.8 x 33.5cm, 68pp. Original thick boards. Artist's book (although also exhibition catalogue as it was published at the same time as the exhibition of the same name) with 22 b/w photographic illustrations of crime scenes (as usual without comment or legend) taken from the El Caso Detective magazine (plus tissue guards). Biography and essay in French and Spain by Daniel Soutif "Et in Boltanskia Ego". VG+.

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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1988.
Four 29.3 x 38.2cm, offset lithographic prints in a folder - three of the sheets are drawings by Iain Stewart of the proposed column-bases for trees (essentially sculptured bases in stone with text that are placed at the bottom of a tree trunk.
Here the trees are to be planted in doubles next to each other each with a double column-base. There are three sets proposed - TWO FRIENDS - with the names of LeBas and Saint-Just (both comrades in arms and both part of the French Revolutionary Terror); TWO VICTIMS - Camile (Desmoulins) and Lucile, his wife - both of whom were murdered by Robespierre's fiat; and TWO MARTYRS - the brave Corday (Charlotte) who murdered the evil Marat in his bath - but as Finlay points out both were regarded as Martyrs by their supporters.
The forth print in the set acts as explanatory colophon for the portfolio. To my mind one of the best Finlay proposals.
Slight tear bottom right in the folder which minorly affects each print.

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8 x 16cm, original b/w photograph of Christian Boltanski behind his Les Ombres Shadows installation at the Lessons in Darkness exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Mounted on brown card which is signed by the artist in blue ink underneath the image. Photographer unknown. On the reverse is a newspaper cutting with the legend from the original publication of the image in 1988 and a date in red ink impression. Unique.

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Little Sparta: Sue Finlay, n.d. (May 1988)
An original vintage xerox (recto) of a circular letter from Sue Finlay to "Inez" (Inez Horst-Aletrino - a Dutch painter who was close to the Finlay family).
Sue Finlay explains that she has just returned from France where she met Donimique Bozo of the Ministry of Culture with her lawyers. She notes the coming election meant it was very hard to meet politicians. She intends returning to meet the Minister of Culture and the President in June.
"Meantime it becomes more and more clear how evil this witch-hunt truly is. Attempts have been made to use the whole machinery for pursuing Nazi war criminals! Jonathan Hirschfield has approached Simon Wiesenthal and the Jewish congress as well as "employing" Michel Blum of the soidisant Ligue des Droits de l'Homme to discredit and destroy us. God alone knows what lengths these people will go to in order to prevent justice being done."
She continues to ask if Inez can help by writing to newspapers and journals.
This was a circular letter sent out to several people (with the name of the recipient written in to the xerox and hand signed.


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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1988
17.4 x10.1cm, 2pp. Artist's card with a drawing of a sculptural work where an urn is covered with a flowing material - possibly a shroud. Similar to the editioned print of the same name (which is in red and black) also by Gary Hincks this is a memorial for the Terror and those who died but also an indication of Finlay's commitment to neo-classicist style and his belief that it is radical and confrontational. VG+.

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Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1988
3.1 x 7.1cm, 4pp with 4pp stapled insert. Artist's card which has the words Sail and Boat on the inside of the white insert both set at an angle perhaps to indicate the physical orientation of both visual images. A minimalist work by Finlay. VG+.

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Little Sparta: Finlay, 4th May 1988
Two original vintage xerox stapled sheet (both recto) of a letter from Finlay to "Inez" (Inez Horst-Aletrino - a Dutch painter who was close to the Finlay family).
Finlay points out that his life has been a "nightmare" following the accusations of Catherine Millet and he notes he is inclosing for information his statement for a "right of reply" in France as well as a "transcript of the radio broadcast which led to the cancellation of the Versailles project".

Finlay points out that "none of those taking part have ever seen our garden. The broadcast is LIES and INVENTIONS designed to destroy Sue and I. Never before have I encountered such EVIL. It has changed our lives for ever."

An important letter showing the impact the controversy was having on the Finlay family at the time.
JOINT:
Twelve 30 x 21cm, original vintage xerox sheets (all printed recto) with a transcript (in French) of the radio programme hosted by Stephane Paoli in which Catherine Miller, Michel Blum and Catherine Duhamel discuss Finlay and libel him with charges of being anti-Semite. Millet begins by claiming a work (OSSO) has a SS double lightning strike symbol on it and makes the rather simplistic reading of the work that it is pro-nazi. They then raise the matter of Finlay's commission by the French government of a major public work and Blum claims that Finlay's correspondence with the jailed Albert Speer is further proof of national socialist sympathies. The programme continues in the same vein - Millet makes several claims about works in Little Sparta (works she had never seen) that were evidence of National Socialist sympathies eg the washing line that Sue and Ian Finlay joked was called the Seigfried Line (a joke that is obvious to those of British background as there was a popular anti-Hitler song of that name in the second world war "Hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line".
An important document that documents the outrageous way in which the French critics used lies and exaggerations to stoke public anger against Finlay his and eventually cause the commission to be withdrawn by the French Government without any explanation.
joint:
Handwritten cardboard envelope addressed to Inez Horst-Aletino from Finlay.

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Little Sparta, Finlay, n.d. A handwritten note on a blue Raspberry republic letterhead (other similar RR letterheads were usually in red but Finlay had a store of different stationery to be used in different situations as suited his needs) to Edward and Sam. +Finlay notes tha "the cats are fed for today. Your can ate eat vegetables from the allotment + the (?) from the pantry (?) ands the freezer.

There are clean clothes on the beds.
Love Ian."
Just a friendly note left for visitors staying at Little Sparta. It is nice to hear the cats were being well looked after. We do not know who Edward and Sam were.

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Little Sparta: Finlay, n.d. (c. May 1988) An original vintage xerox 30 x 21cm, 1pp statement from Finlay which is worth quoting in full:
"What is happening today in respect of Kurt Waldheim and Paul de Man is not a natural process of criticism - it is the systematic, vivisection, carried out by the obscene Mengales of 'democratic' letters. What is been demanded of fellow men - yes fellow men - is not that they made the correct moral decisions in their own time, not even simply simply that they were super heroes but they predicted and fell in with the pseudo moral linguistic fashions of 40 years on. Very well, let us anticipate the day when our vivisectionists are asked, not what they had to say, with on remarkable hindsight, about the deportation of the Jews, but what they had to say, looking around them, about the deportation of Arabs. And more, let us anticipate the question to be put to us: Did (sic) the huge inhumanity of these Mengales not produce in you a single letter of protest - not one tear in your eye, not one ache in your heart? Oh how brave you are, you who regard yourselves as exempt from history. See how you always fight those battles which others one for you a long time ago."
Kurt Waldheim was an Austrian politician who it was revealed to have been implicated in Nazi mass murder when he tried for a second time to become Austrian President in 1988. Paul de Man was a literary critic and philosopher who after his death had his previously unknown articles supporting collaboration with the Nazi revealed. Finlay seems to be arguing that moral positions cannot be taken aside from the historical context that they were made in. This is probably the least convincing of Finlay's arguments as Waldheim does seem to have known about the murder of Yugoslavian resistance fighters - which perhaps was not known at the time. But one can say it is a valid argument to make even if one does not ultimately agree with it.

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Little Sparta: Finlay, n.d. (c. May 1988)
An original vintage xerox 30 x 21cm, 1pp statement from Finlay in the guise of the Saint-Just Vigilantes pointing out that Strathclyde Regiona had placed arrestment orders of £10,920 against an alleged rate debt of £4,370 and that the Region had already seized £2,800 against the same debt in February 1988. Finlay also points out that the Region had taken works of art by force five years earlier against the debt, works which they still retained.
Finlay explains that the disputed building is entered in the valuation roll as a "garden temple".
"In law the Region is obliged to accept this description but has persisted in using the phrase 'commercial art gallery'. Unable to grasp the nature of a building they have never visited, they also demand the right to interpret the law within the confines of their own understanding."
Finlay points out in the statement that the Region has refused any rates appeal hearing and by their recent arrestment orders has renewed its attack on Little Sparta exactly when the Glasgow Garden Festival is about to take place.
In protest at these actions Finlay announces that "we have withdrawn from all public projects in Scotland including the Glasgow Garden Festival, the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial and projects in progress for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art" and calls on others to withdraw from the Garden Festival.
JOINT (stapled to the statement):
Two xerox sheets (both 30 x 21cm, 1pp) with a text and an image of Finlay's 'APHRODITE OF THE TERROR' - the text by Stephen Bann explaiins the work and it's classical origins. Finlay in his statement says the Region's actions are an "apt commentary" on the work.

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Little Sparta: Finlay, 1988
Five original vintage xeroxes each 30 x 21cm, 1pp with press cuttings (all 1988) from The Times Literary Supplement, The Scotsman (2), and two unidentified Dutch newspapers reproducing letters to the Editor and articles about Finlay as well as one by Wim Meulenkamp (one of Finlay's accusers) in which he responds to positive support for Finlay from the Kroller-Muller museum and outrageously calls Finlay once again a "crypto-fascist".
One article in the Scotsman Arts Review of May 23 1998 is by Duncan Macmillan (who for once gets it right) describes the original commission in details - clearly fed background on the various meanings of the proposed work by Finlay - in some detail. It makes one regret the work never having been made.
Copied at the time by Finlay to distribute to friends and press as a source of information. VG although some rippling of the paper.

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