THE WATER HEN: Kantor, Demarco and The Edinburgh Festival

Finlay Room, RSA Lower Galleries

Free entry


2015 is the Year of Kantor in Poland, being the centenary of his birth. Like several other eastern European artists, his work with Richard Demarco (in three Edinburgh Festivals: 1972, 1973 and 1976) established his international reputation. Researchers at Dundee University undertaking searches in the section of the Demarco Archives held by the National Galleries of Scotland uncovered a hitherto unknown film (of exceptional quality) of an entire performance of THE WATER HEN (1972), with additional footage before and after, including Demarco in conversation with Kantor. This is the only film of the entire The Water Hen performance in existence and so there is already great interest in news of the discovery of this film.


The RSA will premiere the aforementioned film in the Royal Scottish Academy. The film has allowed reserchers to definitively sequence still photographs taken by Demarco and George Oliver of this and other performances of 'The Water Hen', thereby increasing critical understanding of the production from multiple viewpoints. Further research into the membership of the audience has also taken place, identifying given that several significant cultural figures present at the event.

A newly digitised film of recently discovered and never-before-seen film of Kantor's The Water Hen performance in Edinburgh (entire performance of The Water Hen plus audience film and interview with Kantor & Richard Demarco) accompanied by photographs from the performance.

This presentation will also include documentation from the 'Legacy of Kantor in Scotland' performance season held at Hidden Door Festival in May 2015.

Publication: The Legacy of Kantor in Scotland

A dual-language publication bringing together the different elements of the project.

The Legacy of Kantor in Scotland is currently a partnership between the Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture and the University of Dundee, with the National Galleries of Scotland, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Warsaw) The Consul General of Poland in Edinburgh, Hidden Door Festival and the Cricoteka (Krakow). The exhibition is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.