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“Currently in development, 10 Dialogues: Richard Demarco, Scotland and The European Avant Garde, opens in November at the Royal Scottish Academy to mark Richard Demarco’s 80th year, 40 since his ground-breaking exhibition Strategy: Get Arts, and 20 since the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. Co-curated by Arthur Watson and myself, supported by the RSA exhibition team led by Colin Greenslade, the exhibition will occupy the eight main galleries of the RSA and focus on the work of ten artists with whom Demarco had sustained or seminal contact. Among them are Magdalena Abakanowicz, David Mach, Joseph Beuys, Tadeusz Kantor, Alistair Maclennan, Gunther Uecker and Ainslie Yule.

The exhibition will explore a story about art in Scotland which has not previously been presented coherently or in adequate depth. To address this, it reflects on Demarco’s sustained commitment to exhibiting major European artists in Scotland and his promotion of Scottish artists in mainland Europe, through which he helped to overcome, in the cultural sphere, the post-war divisions that disfigured Europe throughout most of his adult life. Allied to this was his engagement with new work and new media. The Richard Demarco Gallery, founded in 1966, rapidly developed an international range and programme that supported new developments in installation, site-specific work, film and video, performance and theatre, all to be reflected in the exhibition. Not simply retrospective, it will also include new work by the six living artists, and work not previously seen in Scotland. Hence the exhibition’s emphasis on dialogue, so rightly associated with Demarco, intends to suggest creative relationships that have continued through changing times and circumstances. This theme will run as a visual narrative through the show, carried by selected images from the Demarco Digital Archive, Demarco being unique in the UK in that, from the late 1950s onwards, he relentlessly documented his work and contacts, which included influential artists, curators and critics throughout Europe.”

10 Dialogues…, RSA, Edinburgh, 28 November 2010-17 January 2011