FINLAY (Ian Hamilton), COSTLEY (Ron) (Artwork).
PRINZ EUGEN. homage to gomringer.

Original silkscreen print. 510 x 380mm. A line drawing of the battleship with text in white and black on a background of pale grey. From an edition of 300 copies only, signed and numbered by IHF on the reverse as number 144. Wild Hawthorn Press, Scotland, 1972. 


The Prinz Eugen was a German battleship, the only heavy cruiser in the fleet to survive the Second World War intact. Finlay’s poem-print pays homage to another Eugen, the swiss poet Eugen Gomringer, often referred to as the Father of concrete poetry. Costley’s drawing replicates the robust, rigorous design of the ship, that Finlay felt was also evident in the rigour of Gomringer’s poetry. There is a touch of banter here too, marking out the Eugen as exceptional in its fleet and therefore pondering the fate and resilience of the concrete poetry movement. Finlay comments: ‘the appearance of the warship in my work signifies the rejection of purity as inconsequentiality in favour of purity as commitment.’ homage to gomringer also formally calls to mind a preceding work Homage to Mozart (1970) with Costley’s drawing of a full-rigged ship with billowing sails.  

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