The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
The Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay printed a vertical blue field onto white paper in this work. The text, EVENING WILL COME THEY WILL SEW THE BLUE SAIL, is shown on the field in white capital letters. Finley is a poet and artist and his prints often consist of a combination of text and image. Sometimes the text requires the most attention, sometimes the image, and sometimes they demand equal attention. The image can be abstract or figurative, purely typographical or illustrative, simple or complex. The text can be poetic or informative, consist of a single word or of a number of sentences. Sometimes there is a direct relationship between the word and the image, but sometimes the word and the image appear to contradict each other, or sometimes you discover the links between the two by making associations.
Finlay made sculptures as well as prints, which also often include a text. Many of these “poem-objects” can be found in his “philosophical” garden, Little Sparta, which is near Edinburgh. In this garden, which he designed and planted himself, Finlay endeavoured to bring art, philosophy and nature together. All the elements in the garden, such as the plants, ponds, objects and texts, have a specific, often symbolic meaning within the whole and are interrelated. For Finlay, the gardener is the symbol of someone who must do his work in harmony with nature in order to achieve a good result. This also applies for fishermen. Fishermen, boats and shipping are constantly recurring themes in his work.
In 'Evening/Sail' the text is poetic and the image is simple. The combination of the two provides a wealth of possibilities for associations. The elongated blue field can be related to the words BLUE SAIL. In turn, these refer to boats and fishermen, and therefore to the sea. However, EVENING WILL COME also evokes an image of a darkening sky. The whole text suggests that the fishermen have returned safely and are making their sails. It is a moment of rest and blue is a restful colour. But BLUE also means a melancholy mood, which suits the evening time. In this way the blue field reinforces the words in all sorts of ways.
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