Conference 2016

Conference – Tribute to Richard Demarco

Richard Demarco Archive as Gesamtkunstwerk

30 June – Wrocław / 1 July Sokołowsko

Every year CONTEXTS pay tribute to an outstanding artist of unquestionable merits. In 2016 it is Richard Demarco, the extraordinary artist and curator, for decades responsible for visual arts at the Edinburgh Festival, creator of exceptional archive, unique documentation of international art since 1960s. Demarco is a great ambassador of Polish art and culture, who has been coming to Poland since 1968 with an artistic mission, which brought about pioneering exhibitions of Polish contemporary art during the Cold War era. He is the person who introduced Tadeusz Kantor and Cricot 2 to the international audience behind the Iron Curtain, initiated meeting of Kantor and Beuys, considering that the way to heal the wounds of war, unresolved conflict between Poland and Germany, is to bring together great artists representing these two countries. He organized numerous artistic expeditions to Poland, bringing artists, critics, art historians and art admirers, visiting art galleries, artists’ studios and art museums. Richard Demarco’s contribution to opening Europe to Polish art cannot be overestimated, has no precedence and cannot be compared with anything else. For his merits for Polish culture he was awarded Golden Gloria Artis Medal by Ministry of Art and National Heritage, received Honoris Causa doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, like at a number of universities in Europe and America. In 2013 he received the European Citizen’s Medal on Monday at the European Parliament Office, Brussels, the only UK citizen and only arts person receiving this honour.




Mischa Twitchin “Between Documentation and Living Archive: What Becomes of the Avant-Garde?”
During an interview in 1986, Krzysztof Wodiczko observed that: “Poland is marginalised less by lack of information about art in the West than by the lack of information about art in Poland available in the West.” In the field of Anglophone theatre studies at least, it is a moot point whether this situation has significantly changed – where the pioneering example of the Demarco Gallery in hosting both Kantor and the Cricot 2 within its expanded “strategy” of exhibitions during the 1970s is rarely acknowledged. With respect to the dialogues engaged in Demarco’s example, how is the question of “information about art” re-articulated in the Foksal Gallery’s staging of relations between “documentation” and “living archives” in 1971? What becomes of the avant-garde “attitude” in relation to these terms, not least in the legacy of Kantor’s notorious “demarcation line”, repeated in the context of Demarco’s Atelier ’72 show? And what might be learnt from, rather than simply about, the dialogue of these terms with the work of another participant in that exhibition, Jerzy Ludwinski?

Dr Mischa Twitchin is a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow at the Drama Dept., Queen Mary, University of London. His book “The Theatre of Death – the Uncanny in Mimesis” will be published by Palgrave Macmillan this summer, and examples of his performance- and essay-films can be viewed at:


Giles Sutherland

Long before modern technology started to replace jobs and reorganize old professions, long before our media began debating whether we will need to rethink our life styles due to the eventual possibility that there may not be enough jobs for everyone, there were people living their lives tailored to their own needs and desires.

Richard Demarco has never followed the expectations of an art system requiring one type of artistic personality. He has tried them all: he has painted, organized and curated exhibitions, directed galleries and foundations, written articles, organized theatre programs, cultural journeys and much more. He is a modern man par excellence but also at the same time a classical one, meaning that, he believes in the synthesis between liberty and conservation and in art as the manifestation of every kind of creativity without a fixed specialization. For decades and with great dedication, he has introduced  generations of artists to this kind of approach, opening their eyes to the endless possibilities of human creativity.

The contemporary world needs this kind of flexible mind. There is a lot to be done to hinder the damage to our planet and to society being caused by sterile specialization aimed at maximizing profit. We need a new enlightenment, we need people like Richard Demarco, able to recreate his artistic multitasking mission year after year.





This paper explores the genesis, content and outcome of Edinburgh Arts 72, Richard Demarco’s first experimental, interdisciplinary summer school held in Edinburgh (3-28 July, 1972). The paper explores links between the Edinburgh Arts Summer School and the Atelier 72 Exhibition (20 August – 9 September, 1972).

The original exhibition, Atelier 72, took place in Edinburgh at The Richard Demarco Gallery in 8 Melville Crescent.

Immediately prior to this exhibition was the first Edinburgh Arts Summer School, an experiment in alternative, interdisciplinary pedagogy, inspired by Black Mountain College, North Carolina (1933 -1957). Black Mountain College was, itself, the inheritor of the ideals of the Staatliches Bauhaus, Berlin closed by the Nazis in 1933.

Richard Demarco (b. 1930) has had a lifetime’s experience as a pedagogue, and he may be described as an ‘artist-teacher’ in the mold of Beuys, Kantor, Gropius and other inspired thinkers. From 1957 to 1967 Demarco was Art Master at Duns Scotus Academy in Edinburgh. Here, he developed inspiring educational ideals and methods, some of which were modelled on the educationalist, town planner and geographer, Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932).

Demarco first came across the work of Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) at Documenta IV (1968); subsequently, Demarco invited Beuys to work in Scotland. Beuys first visited Scotland in May 1970, the start of a long collaboration. Beuys had a profound effect on Demarco’s thinking as an educator, an artist and a thinker.

In 1971 while holidaying in on the island of Aegina, Greece, Demarco met American, John Zervos, who had developed a summer school on the island, a short journey form Athens.

Zervos’ educational model was based on North American students travelling to Greece to learn about the culture of the country they were visiting.

Prior to the establishment of Edinburgh Arts Demarco embarked on a series of lecture tours of North America to publicise his vision of an international multidisciplinary summer in Edinburgh (known as the Athens of the North) and to recruit students.

According to Richard Demarco’s official biography, the Edinburgh Arts 1972 programme of events included:

“lectures at the gallery by Jack Burnham, Lord Ritchie Calder, Alie Munro, Ronald Mavor, whilst the gallery also hosted music recitals, traditional song recitals, poetry readings by Liz Lochhead, Edwin Morgan, Robert Garioch, Margaret Tait and others. Creative Adaptability workshops led by Tom Hudson took place both in the gallery’s exhibition rooms and at Cramond Beach near Edinburgh, and dance workshops and performances led by Stuart Hopps, of Scottish Ballet, extended from the interior gallery spaces to the Edinburgh streets. A performance event involving summer school participants was conducted by David Helder from the summit of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, whilst a Drawing Workshop and performances by Paul Neagu took place in the grounds of Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Churchyard and on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth, and expeditions were led by Demarco for groups of participants to locations including Kilmartin Glen in Argyll and the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay at Stonypath, south of Edinburgh.”


The Richard Demarco archive as history, European resource, and inspiration for the future.


Richard Demarco and me – meetings, Kantor, Higher Education.

Edinburgh Festival and the Demarco archive, history, importance.

Demarco’s achievement in bringing European artists to the UK. Political consequences for the UK. Art as a bridge between two Europes.

Some key material  shown over the years, particularly the work of Tadeusz Kantor, Joseph Beuys, Paul Neagu, and Ian Hamilton Finlay, plus others.

Photographs as major and unique collection of the archive.

Using the archive as history, using the archive as inspiration for contemporary work.

Examples of Phd study at the archive now.

Film examples of Richard talking about key artists.

Professor Noel Witts


Professor Noel Witts together with three colleagues was the founder/director of Performing Arts at Leicester Polytechnic, then De Montfort University. He teaches and supervises Phd students at the University of the Arts, London, specifically Central St Martins’ MA in Performance Design and Practice. Co-author of The Twentieth Century Performance Reader, and author of Tadeusz Kantor, both published by Routledge. The founder director of Arts Interlink, London, a consortium of consultants specializing in international projects dealing with Cultural Policy and Arts Management. Currently on the board of the Richard Demarco Archive Trust, Edinburgh, Third Angel Theatre, Sheffield, and the Centre for Performance Research, Aberystwyth.


Richard Crane  and Faynia Williams

Brighton Theatre, June 2016

Rolling the Stone with R Demarco

Faynia Williams (Artistic Director of Brighton Theatre, University of Sussex) i Richard Crane (Playwright, former Resident Dramatist National Theatre & former Literary Manager Royal Court Theatre) – ROLLING THE STONE WITH RICHARD DEMARCO (with live readings and interventions)


Part I – 30 of June 2016, 14.00 (BARBARA, Świdnicka 8c, Wrocław)

Richard Demarco Archive as Gesamtkunstwerk

Part I of the conference aims at presenting Richard Demarco, the curator and artist whose immense archive created over 50 years is rightly termed Gesamtkunstwerk, his contribution to breaking the political division of Europe into Western and Eastern Europe through establishing contacts between the world of art at both sides of Iron Curtain, presenting the significance of Edinburgh Festival and his contribution in the area of visual arts, his relationship with Tadeusz Kantor and Cricot 2, his influence on Scottish and European avant-garde.



Session I

Marek Mutor – conference opening (Director of National Centre for Culture)

Richard Demarco – inauguration lecture

Mischa Twitchin – „Between Documentation and Living Archive: What Becomes of the Avant-Garde?” (Queen Mary, University of London)

Session II

Nesta Jones – The Live Archive: Demarco, Kantor and RBC (Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance)

(London’s International Drama School of Theatre and Performance, Artistic Director Brighton Theatre)

Alastair MacLennan – With Richard Demarco

(Artist, Emeritus Professor, University of Ulster, Belfast)

Sonia Rolak – Richard Demarco forerunner of contemporary multitasking artistic skills

(Artist, Venice)

Session III

Giles Sutherland – Edinburgh Arts “72 – Richard Demarco’s First Experimental Summer School

(Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, London Times )

Faynia Williams i Richard Crane – ROLLING THE STONE WITH RICHARD DEMARCO (with live readings and interventions)

(University of Sussex/ playwright)

1 July – SOKOŁOWSKO (ul.Główna 36, KinoTeatr Zdrowie)

Part II


Session I – Conference – Richarda Demarco Archive as Gesamtkunstwerk

Richard Demarco

Klara Kemp-Welch – The Demarco Tornado: Networking the Bloc”

(Courtauld Institute, London)

Noel Witt – Make the Demarco archive live

(Professor of Performing Arts, UK)

Zbigniew Benedyktowicz – Demarco w kwartalniku Konteksty

(Art Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences)



Session II – Atelier 72 Revisited

The second part of the conference is focused on the groundbreaking exhibition of Polish contemporary art curated by Richard Demarco in the scheme of Edinburgh Festival in 1972. The speakers will include Richard Demarco, the artists who participated in Atelier 72, art critics and art historians.

Richard Demarco will present the origins and idea of the exhibition, and its realization. The artists are asked to talk about their Edinburgh experience in the context of their work at that time and artistic consequences. Art critics present the exhibition in the wider context of Polish and international art.

Dorota Grubba


Richard Demarco
Józef Robakowski
Koji Kamoji
Zbigniew Warpechowski
Zbigniew Makarewicz