The Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006) was not only a graphic artist, sculptor and Land Art artist, but also a poet. He applied his concrete poetry also to his life’s work, the garden “Little Sparta,” situated on his estate near Edinburgh, in that he engraved and carved single words and poems into boulders and wood blocks. His artistic work as a concrete poet was the impetus for the exchange of letters with the Austrian poet Ernst Jandl (1925–2000), which lasted two decades. This exchange was edited and published in 2017 by the German philologist Vanessa Hannesschläger. She followed the invitation of the Künstlerhaus and will introduce the poets’ friendship and exchange of letters in the frame of our event “Im Fokus: Ian Hamilton Finlay.”
The format “In Focus” devotes an hour examining the work of one single artist in detail and investigates this position in conversation with external experts of various fields of expertise. The tours are included in the festival pass. You can book your tour at the “Office of Open Questions” of steirischer herbst and online.
The German philologist Mag. Vanessa Hannesschläger (*1987 Linz, lives in Linz and Vienna) focuses her research on Austrian literature after 1945, experimental literature and multilingualism in literature. After finishing her studies she worked as dramatic advisor and assistant director for straight theater at the Landestheater Linz and in different theater projects. With the Austrian avant garde and international experimental literature of the twentieth century, she dealt intensively in her project “Ernst Jandl Online,” which she implemented at the literature archive of the Austrian National Library. From the estate of Ernst Jandl, she published in this context the exchange of letters between the author and the Scottish concrete poet and artist Finlay. Hannesschläger works at the Austrian Academy of the Sciences and currently deals with the dramatic work of Peter Handke.