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24 Arguments Lectures: Richard Demarco and Arthur Watson

Rezidența BRD Scena9

Looking Forward, Looking Back #9
lecture programme associated to the exhibition
24 Arguments. Early Encounters in Romanian Neo-Avant-Garde 1969-1971


Thursday, January 23, 2020, 19:00

Rezidența BRD Scena9, I.L. Caragiale 32, Bucharest
free access, event held in English

The Institute of the Present (IP) presents a new edition of its lecture series Looking Forward, Looking Back, in the series of events connected to the exhibition 24 Arguments. Early Encounters in Romanian Neo-Avant-Garde 1969-1971 open at the National Museum of Art of Romania between November 7, 2019 – February 2, 2020. The exhibition starts from a research conducted in the Demarco archives from Edinburgh which retrospectively reveals the presence in the local field of art of a series of forgotten narratives, some fragmented, other impossible to reassemble in their temporal unfolding. Such narratives have, however, the capacity to evoke the existence of certain discontinuities in the apparently homogenous structure of the cultural landscape of the time, of certain trans-national zones of contact and transfer not only with the Western space, but also with the space of other socialist worlds.

Digitising Demarco: Scotland, Europe and Romania
“As in previous joint presentations at festivals and conferences, we will maintain our joint commitment to an ongoing dialogue. We will focus on how we worked together with our colleague Euan McArthur to create a digital portal into key photographic records of Richard’s life in visual art in particular within a much broader cultural context. These record many of his major exhibitions at the Edinburgh Festival and ground-breaking engagement across international boundaries, particularly in Eastern Europe during The Cold War and beyond. This project was done in collaboration with The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art who hold significant elements from the Demarco Archive which underpin his own ‘event photography.’ Recently, work has begun on the digitisation of filmed performance, often recorded in early and now obsolete video format. Within the presentation, we will look at two performances by Paul Neagu and an excerpt from the only complete recording of Kantor’s ‘Water Hen’.” – Arthur Watson

Arthur Watson studied Art and Design in Aberdeen (1969–1974), establishing Peacock Printmakers, an artists’ print workshop, publisher and gallery. He joined the board of The Richard Demarco Gallery (1987) and then The Demarco European Art Foundation. He exhibited across Europe with the Gallery, representing Scotland at The Venice Biennale (1990). He was elected as an Associate of The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture (1986), later becoming Secretary and then President. He joined the staff of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (1995) as Director of the Masters Programme of Fine Art. With Euan McArthur, he secured funding for the Demarco Digital Archive Project, leading to two exhibitions at the Academy – Ten Dialogues: Richard Demarco, Scotland & The European Avant-garde (2010) and The Water Hen, Kantor Demarco & The Edinburgh Festival (2015). Recent exhibitions in Scotland, Japan and America with a major curation for the Royal Scottish Academy in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland – Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art from 1540 until now (2017).

Richard Demarco studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1949–1953) and chose to focus on aspects of Design with Fine Art as a secondary subject as an introduction to printmaking, typography, mural painting, book illustration and production. After National Service in The King’s Own Borders and the Royal Army Education Corps, he began teaching art at Scotus Academy, extending the school classroom into the world of The Traverse Theatre Club and Art Gallery. Early involvement in the Edinburgh Festival led to the establishment of The Demarco Gallery in 1966 and the inevitability of transforming the Gallery into an experimental university of all the arts inspired by Black Mountain College and the Beuysian concepts of a Free International University. The Demarco Gallery became associated, primarily in Scotland, with the art world in Aberdeen expressed in the reality of Arthur Watson’s Peacock Printmakers. Thus Richard Demarco began a fruitful friendship with Arthur Watson whose commitment to sculpture, literature, folk music and the art of printmaking led to their collaborations in Scotland and beyond into various aspects of European culture. During his years as Kingston University Professor of European Cultural Studies, Demarco’s collaborations with Arthur Watson as a fellow artist were made manifest through their combined efforts to engage Scotland in a cultural dialogue with Europe, in particular with such countries as Ireland, Romania, Poland, The Former Yugoslavia, Austria, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Belgium and France, and the world of Joseph Beuys in Germany and Italy.

The 24 Arguments exhibition is produced by the Institute of the Present in collaboration with the National Museum of Art of Romania and the Demarco Archive.

Funders: Cultural programme co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund and by the Romanian Order of Architects from the architectural stamp
Logistic partners:
 DHL International Romania, Hornbach
Supported by: British Council România, Rezidenţa BRD Scena9, CEREFREA Villa Noël, University of Dundee
Communication partner:
 DC Communication
Media partners: Radio România Cultural, RFI România, Zeppelin

The programme does not necessarily represent the standpoint of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN cannot be held liable for the content of the programme or the manner in which the outcomes of the programme may be used. These shall devolve entirely on the beneficiary of the financing.

Contact: ip@institutulprezentului.ro

Image from “The Water Hen”, directed by Tadeusz Kantor. Courtesy of Demarco European Art Foundation and Demarco Digital Archive, University of Dundee, National Galleries of Scotland
Institutul Prezentului