Marina Abramovic is the leading performance artists of the later 20Th and early 21st Centuries. Her emergence in international consciousness may be less well known, however, in 1973, she was invited to Edinburgh by Richard Demarco HRSA, to take part in the Edinburgh Festival through his exhibition Eight Yugoslav Artists. The premier of her seminal performance Rhythm 10, took place in Melville College before an international audience, including Joseph Beuys, who was subsequently instrumental in introducing her to galleries across Europe. Demarco built on the success of this exhibition with the more extensive Aspects 75 at the Scottish Arts Council’s Fruitmarket Gallery, at which Abramovic performed the punishing Warm/Cold, again during the official Festival. This exhibition toured to five further venues in England and Ireland culminating at Glasgow’s Third Eye Centre.
Both of the above performances were included as photographic and filmed documentation in the exhibition 10 Dialogues: Richard Demarco, Scotland & The European Avant Garde, presented by the RSA in celebration of Richard Demarco’s 80th birthday in 2010. Abramovic was one of six European artists who Demarco had brought to Scotland along with four Scots presented by him in Europe.
A further connection with the Academy is through Murray Grigor HRSA, who directed the film documenting one of Abramovic’s most ambitious projects in which she and her partner, Ulay, walked towards each other from opposite ends of the great wall of China with their marriage planned when at last they met. But instead this marked the end of their creative partnership and of their relationship.