Edinburgh, Scotland : 2010

Mixed media installation for 10 Dialogues: Richard Demarco, Scotland and the European Avant-Garde.

26 November 2010 – 9 January 2011

This exhibition marked the year of Richard Demarco’s 80th birthday and the 40th anniversary of Strategy: Get Arts. Presented in the magnificent RSA Upper Galleries, it highlighted ten seminal relationships that Richard has had over the years both with Scottish artists and with those from across Europe that he introduced to Scotland for the first time. The exhibition was in association with the National Galleries of Scotland and the University of Dundee.

“Richard Demarco is without doubt a remarkable man, an Italian Scot, a founder of the Traverse Theatre, a man who is an artist, a writer, a philosopher. He is a man who has brought contemporary visual arts to the Edinburgh Festival. He has been involved in more than 50 Edinburgh Festivals, and has brought great artists like Joseph Beuys and Kantor to thousands of people. He has also brought the visual arts from other parts of the world, from Eastern Europe, long before other people were interested. And he has inspired us all…” – Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate Gallery.

The ten dialogues featured his relationships with Magdalena Abakanowicz, Gunther Uëcker, Alastair Maclennan, David Mach and Ainslie Yule, all of which had been sustained for up to forty years; his most productive connections with Marina Abramovic and Rory McEwen were concentrated within particular periods in the artist’s life; and his relationship with Joseph Beuys, Tadeusz Kantor and Paul Neagu which terminated only by the artists’ deaths.

This exhibition aimed at addressing a perceived imbalance in the recent history of Scottish Art and investigated the impact in Scotland of Richard Demarco’s exhibitions draw from across Europe. It was both retrospective and forward-looking and included older works such as sculptures by Neagu and McEwen, shown by Demarco in the late 1960s and 1970s, and others such as Beuys’ Three Pots Action Object, and New Beginnings are in the Offing, which were made in Edinburgh for events organised and presented by Demarco. It included photographic documentation by Demarco of performances and actions, such as Marina Abramovic’s Rhythm 10 and films of Beuys, Kantor, Abramovic and Neagu, including the latter’s Gradually Going Tornado, broadcast in 1974 by Grampian TV. Gunther Uëcker’s impressive Pictlandgarden series was first shown by Demarco in 1990 and several were presented again, for those renewing their memories of them and those seeing them for the first time. Some works were being shown in Scotland for the first time ever, including Magdalena Abaknowicz’s monumental The Court of King Arthur, Ainslie Yule’s sculptures and drawings, made over the previous year, Alastair Maclennan’s installation OFF CIDE and two large-scale portraits of Demarco by David Mach.