10 DIALOGUES: Richard Demarco, Scotland and the European Avant Garde

RSA Upper Galleries
Admission £6/£4 conc.

This exhibition marks the year of Richard Demarco's 80th birthday and the 40th anniversary of Strategy: Get Arts. Presented in the magnificent RSA Upper Galleries, it highlights 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. 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 feature his relationships with Magdalena Abakanowicz, Gunther Uëcker, Alastair Maclennan, David Mach and Ainslie Yule, all of which have 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 aims at addressing a perceived imbalance in the recent history of Scottish Art and investigates the impact in Scotland of Richard Demarco's exhibitions draw from across Europe. It is both retrospective and forward-looking and includes 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 includes 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 will be presented again, for those who will be renewing their memories of them and those seeing them for the first time. Some works are 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 last year, Alastair Maclennan's installation 'NOR KNOW NEMESIS' and two large-scale portraits of Demarco by David Mach.


Through the Demarco Digital Archive it is possible for the first time to visually represent the full scope of Richard Demarco's vision to overcome, in the cultural sphere, the consequences of the post-war political division between eastern and western Europe. Edinburgh, particularly during the Festival, became the platform on which Demarco brought together artists and performers from all parts of Europe. His earliest exhibition programmes intermixed British and international artists, and his 1970 Festival promotions New Directions (Scottish and Romanian Artists) Strategy: Get Arts and Sound in Space (new music, including Harrison Birtwistle) dramatically extended his commitment from painting and sculpture into installation, artists' film, music and performance.


The RSA would like to thank the following organisations for collaborating in this exhibition: The National Galleries of Scotland; University of Dundee; Creative Scotland; The Henry Moore Foundation; AdamMickiewicz Institute; Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the art of Tadeusz Kantor; The Romanian Cultural Institute; The Goethe Institute; The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Edinburgh; The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh; The Polish Cultural Institute and the National British Library.


Richard Demarco: A Life In Pictures.
2010 RSA Sir William Gillies Bequest Lecture: Richard Demarco.
One day symposium: Networking the Bloc.



***** THE TIMES (5 star review)
***** THE SCOTSMAN (5 star review)
Jan Patience in THE HERALD
Lauren Dyer Amazeen in ARTFORUM ONLINE (no longer available - subscribers only)
10 Dialogues short documentary by Robert Motyka
EDI STARK interviews Richard Demarco for BBC RADIO SCOTLAND - no longer available