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Richard Demarco on the history of the Edinburgh Festival. [57557].jpg


20th June 2023


My main contribution to the Edinburgh Festival for this year will be focused on the exhibition programme I must curate as my contribution as an ARTIST to my concept of the DEMARCO ARCHIVE as a TOTAL ARTWORK, a veritable ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’!

I regard this exhibition as a series of sculptural installations inspired by my sixteen-year-long collaboration, from 1970 until 1986,mwith Joseph Beuys and his concept of ‘social sculpture’.

It must celebrate the art if IAN HUNTER and CELIA LARNER in their self-appointed task of honouring of KURT SCHWITTER’s Merz barn at Elterwater in Cumbria, HUGO BURGE’s homage to RORY MCEWEN at his Marchmont Estate and to AINSLIE YULE for introducing me to his world at Kingston University as a Stanley Picker Fellow and as Professor of European Cultural Studies.  Sadly, 2023 is marked by the deaths of Hugo Burge, Ian Hunter and Ainslie Yule, so naturally my exhibition must be dedicated to their lives as artists.

My Edinburgh Festival at Summerhall Arts Centre will consist of 14 sections in 14 locations, in exhibition rooms and corridors.  There will be a programme of seven symposia celebrating Scotland’s cultural dialogue with Poland, Romania, Germany and Italy in particular.


Yesterday, Roddy Martine informed me that, as the result of his meeting with Gavin MacDougall on Friday 16th, he now knows that Luath Press is planning to begin the process of publishing the book entitled ‘DEMARCO’S EDINBURGH’ during the Edinburgh Festival this year, in the month of August.  I attach the cover design of this publication.

However, prior to this publication, I am pleased to give you the good news that, on Friday 7th July, there will be the book launch of a publication entitled ‘RICHARD DEMARCO : THE ITALIAN CONNECTION’.  I also attach the information on this.

I regard these two publications as significant because they focus on the fact that, as I approach, God Willing, my 93rd birthday on Sunday 9th July, I can consider my life blest by my personal experience of all 76 Edinburgh Festivals.

I do hope that anyone receiving this Newsletter can consider the book launch at Summerhall Arts Centre on 7th July at 5 pm as a reconsideration of the history of the Edinburgh Festival with a distinct Italian dimension.


p.s. Nicola Benedetti, as the Director of the Edinburgh International Festival, has asked the pertinent question – ‘Where do we go from here?’  I do hope that the Luath Press and Dundee University publications can help to provide a useful and positive answer.

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