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Alec Finlay A Variety of Culture

Alec Finlay: A Variety of Culture 2016

A Variety of Cultures is a significant artwork by Scottish artist and poet Alec Finlay, created for Jupiter Artland. The project is an essay in eco-poetics – it will grow, season by season. It consists of an orchard of native apple and plum varieties with the addition of oak ladders. Placed near the trees, which are still young, the measure of the ladders anticipates the eventual extent the pruned canopies will fill – when they do, visitors will be able to climb into the blossom, leaves and fruit.


Alec Finlay (1966-) is an artist poet and publisher, currently based in the North-East of England. In recent years Finlay’s work has been primarily concerned with contemporary visions of nature and landscape. The range of forms that he has employed is incredibly diverse: neon text; nest-boxes; major interventions working with windmill turbines; multiples, paperworks and all forms of print and web-based media; and such innovative poetic forms as the renga, circle poem and mesostic. His two volume Selected Poems will appear later this year.

Recent major artist projects include: a long terms vision strategy for renewable energy, in collaboration with NaREC (National Centre for Renewable Energy, Blyth); a series of major new projects for the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens; and a permanent artwork for the Bluecoat gallery in Liverpool, as part of the Capital of Culture, titled ‘Specimen Colony’. He has also grown two fields of wheat as a public artwork considering the themes of agriculture and biogenetics, commissioned by Milton Keynes Gallery. Major public artworks in Scotland include a Xylotheque in the hidden gardens (tramway, Glasgow) and Field Guide (Dysart). New projects which will open in Scotland this year include: a series of permanent artworks for Springburn Park (Glasgow); Home to a king (3) in George Square Gardens (Edinburgh); and Interleaved, a text based work in the newly renovated Basil Spence main library at Edinburgh University.

In the past Finlay has worked on long term residencies and exhibitions with BALTIC and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and performances for Tramway and Tate Modern. His most recent publication is One Hundred Year Star-Diary, an artist project for the new star observatory at Kielder. His publications have won numerous Scottish Design Awards.