The Philosopher’s Garden

The Philosopher’s Garden
Date: 3 March – 8 May 2005
Space: Gallery 3

Exhibition which honours the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau whose writings inspired artist Ian Hamilton Finlay through photography by Robin Gillanders exploring the connections between Finlay’s ‘Little Sparta’ and the garden created in the 1770s where Rousseau was buried.

This exhibition hosts a series of black and white photographs taken by Robin Gillanders depicting the overgrown garden at Ermenonville, north of Paris, which was home to Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the last years of his life and where he was buried before being transferred to the Pantheon. Rousseau was fond of a good walk, and his last book Reveries of a Solitary Walker consists of autobiographical meditations that he ostensibly made while walking in the park at Ermenonville. Following Rousseau’s spirit, Gillander aimed at representing the park as a series of ‘metaphorical meditations’ on the Reveries rather than at ‘merely documenting the park and its monuments’. For this exhibition, Gillander’s photos are shown in relation to another series of photographs, taken in 1998 by the same artist, capturing the atmosphere in Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s sculptural garden. Finlay dedicated a part of his garden to Rousseau and Ermenonville which is captured in Gillander’s photographic eye.

Artists: Robin Gillanders, Ian Hamilton Finlay

Photo: copyright Robin Gillanders

Robin Gillanders, ‘The Philosopher’s Garden: Interview
Robin Gillanders, ‘The Philosopher’s Garden: Review’

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