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Alec Finlay Mesostic Remedy

Alec Finlay: Mesostic Remedy 2009

Mesostic Remedy comprises a pair of mesostic poems for each of the thirty-eight original herb remedies that were created by Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936). Printed onto labels for a set of Bach’s remedies and presented in a wooden wall cabinet, the poems reflect the negative and positive characteristics ascribed to each remedy.

A ‘mesostic’ is composed of horizontal word branches emerging from the trunk of a name. Finlay’s mesostics have been published in Mesostic Remedy, a book published by Jupiter Artland in which the poems are accompanied by illustrations of each flower by the artist Laurie Clark.

Dr Bach was a bacteriologist, physician and pathologist whose philosophy of homeopathy highlighted the relationship between mental states and physical illness. Given the connection between Bach’s homeopathic remedies and the work of Robert and Nicky Wilson, Mesostic Remedy is something of a site-specific intervention.

Alongside Mesostic Remedy, Jupiter Artland’s permanent collection includes another artwork by Finlay titled A Variety of Cultures.


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.