Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Richard Demarco

Richard Demarco is an important figure in the arts of the 20th century and such he remains also in 21th century.
The one of his biggest contributions is creating dialogue between Art Worlds of the East and West Europe at the time of Iron curtain.
His legacy for the future is The Demarco Archives - '... more than 250,000 photographs and many more thousand documents and other printed items, books and artworks.
The archives are a unique visual record of Richard Demarco’s career from the late 1950s to 2006. They contain material of international range and significance, and include his interactions and collaborations with some of the foremost artists of the time and his important work with Eastern European artists' 

Meeting Richard Demarco at Craigcrook Castle

Here are some quotations and notes which describe Richard Demarco and his values and aspirations.

'The essence of Demarco's interactions with artists (and their audiences) has always been one-to-one, face-to-face, discursive and conversational.' (Euan McArthur and Arthur Watson).

'The aphorism "Art begins in the meeting of friends," with its implications both social and of constant new beginnings, has often been associated with him. At the same time, as an artist himself, he is perfectly well aware of the artist's need to be closeted in their own space, in the silence of the studio.' (Euan McArthur and Arthur Watson).

'...Demarco's broad-church outlook. He has always been open and responsive to what comes to him and pluralistic in what he supports.'(Euan McArthur and Arthur Watson).

'"The Road to Meikle Seggie" lies at the conceptual heart of Demarco's artistic practise. As well as signifying  a personal life-journey, it also symbolises the many journeys of exploration and discovery he has undertaken, in the company of fellow "artist-explorers".'(Steve Robb).

'Richard Demarco as event photographer: catalyst, participant, observer'(Euan McArthur)

Notes from meeting with Richard Demarco at Craigcrook Castle:

* What is important for him: the way in which the roofline touches the sky; spaces in between buildings; unexpected and secret spaces; art and education.  
* He likes: inside space linked with outside; presence of nature; presence of history; roughness of surfaces; variety of experiences; Louisiana galleries;

 Louisiana galleries

* He dislikes: commercialisation of ART; 'white space' - white, plain and sterile

There are many artists whose art has become known in UK thanks to Demarco. I want to focus on three of them and create spaces for their art in my project. 

Magdalena Abakanowicz is Polish sculptor well known by her tactile, intuitive, and personal art. 

ZYK, cycle War games

 King's Arthur Court 

Joseph Beuys was a German Fluxus, Happening and performance artist as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.

"I Like America and America Likes Me" (performance, 1974)

 7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration, Kassel, Germany, 1982

“I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time. The oak is especially so because it is a slowly growing tree with a kind of really solid heart wood. It has always been a form of sculpture, a symbol for this planet ever since the Druids, who are called after the oak. Druid means oak. They used their oaks to define their holy places. I can see such a use for the future.... The tree planting enterprise provides a very simple but radical possibility for this when we start with the seven thousand oaks.” (Joseph Beuys in conversation with Richard Demarco, 1982)

The Pack, 1969 

Sculpture Tall Talk is one of rare Rory McEwen's sculptures.



Sunday, 11 November 2012

Inspiration: texts

'Public spaces must have a prototypical character; they are instruments of change for a society. They are singular, they create an identity, and they must be able to stimulate the evolution of all kinds of part of a society. The singularness of public spaces remains a key attractor for a variety of people, events, collective expressions, programmes, but what comes out constantly changes, adapts to new trends, forces, desires, and it multiplies in its adaptations over time. The use of a public space proliferates increasingly in the ways that they are used and the ways that they give from to a society and its dynamic mechanisms.'
CHORA / Raoul Bunschoten. Public Spaces. 2002

'The whole city is a plastic experience, a journey through pressures and vacuums, a sequence of exposures and enclosures of constraint and relief.'
Gordon Cullen       

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Demarco photographic gallery and archive. Roseangle

The current 3rd year's project looks at 'Place and Identity within the City'. Project contains broad analysis of Roseangle area and design of Demarco photographic gallery & archive within it.
Bulky work of Roseangle area's analysis done by our group revealed several issues I want to tackle and which is going to shape my following work. These issues are:
1. Public open space.
‘Dundee Public Open Space strategy 2008-2011’ by Dundee City Council lists several outcomes:
‘Outcome 1:
Dundee's open space encourages and supports healthy lifestyles by providing opportunities for recreation, relaxation and fun for people of all ages and abilities.
Outcome 2:
Dundee's open space provides a network of diverse, attractive and inspiring green spaces which add colour and life to the City including the urban environment.
Outcome 3: Dundee's public open spaces are safe, accessible and meet the current and future needs of local communities.
Outcome 4: Dundee's open space contributes to the economic prosperity of Dundee by helping to attract investment and tourism.
Outcome 5: The management of the City's public open space delivers quality and is cost effective, efficient and provides best value for citizens of Dundee.’(p. 5)

Dundee City Concil [online] available from:


2. Sense of 'place' and sense of community.
What qualities this project could bring to this area and how it could shape 'place-identity'?

3. Demarco building itself. How it represents its content, serves its function and relates to its context. 

Roseangle area is located in The West End of Dundee bordered by Perth Road, Roseangle, Magdalen Yard Road and Windsor street.
Roseangle area is primarily residential with diverse surroundings which makes its location advantageous for living
It is a local district centre which serves all necessary functions within it: police, post office, churches, cafes, groceries etc.  

Roseangle and strategic areas
1. City Centre
2. University of Dundee 

3. The Technopole - Research industries adjacent to the University Of Dundee
4. The Railyards Digital Media Park - Media and Software industries
5. Roseangle area
6. Magdalen Green

Surrounding streets effectively join Roseangle with all strategic areas of this part of Dundee and there is potential for further connections with future developments.

Perth Road is important artery of the city which joins West End with the City Centre. While Hawkhill and Riverside Drive serve main transport flows Perth Road creates cultural and educational links.

 Cultural institutions along Perth Road and nearby. 

There is probably the biggest concentration of landmarks within Dundee. They are clearly legible from most of places within the area.  

1. Public open space.

This map shows open public spaces within and near Roseangle area. It shows both articulated (planned) and those 'neglected' open spaces with potential.

Here I want to particularly focus on Rosangle area. 
Complimentary to the Greenspaces Network, Dundee City Council has developed a "Public Open Space" Hierarchy that provides a system for determining appropriate provision levels of public open space to ensure a fair distribution across Dundee.’ (p. 15)

‘Dundee Public Open Space strategy 2008-2011’ by Dundee City Concil
Dundee City Concil [online] available from:

Magdalen Green complies with requirements for Neighbourhood Parks. The thing is missing in Roseangle area, is articulated Local Park and/or open Space which complies with requirements below: 
Safe, locally accessible open spaces for people of all ages, especially children. Type of visit:
• Daily use Provision for :
• Informal recreation and play
• Nature conservation interest
• Visual amenity, providing a setting for buildings’

(p. 28).

2. Sense of 'place' and sense of community.
How has space been shaped by buildings, topography and citizens’ life.
What qualities this project could bring to this area and how it could shape sense of ‘place’ and sense of community.

The best description of public spaces I have found is in this quote by Raoul Bunschoten: 'They are singular, they create an identity, and they must be able to stimulate the evolution of all kinds of part of a society.'
CHORA / Raoul Bunschoten. Public Spaces. 2002

3. Demarco buildings.
How his personality and his work could influence this design and how design represents Demarco’s values and his ‘living’ archives.
I see these buildings as an cultural anchors for this area. They should enrich cultural field and stimulate urban nodal growth of this subcentre. 
Consequently I looked for the sites within Roseangle area which could serves both Demarco programmes - 'archive' and 'gallery & residence' and would be answer to issues I mentioned above.

1. Demarco gallery & residence.

Site between Westfield Lane and Seafield Road was chosen for gallery and residence.
Here are the main aspects behind this option:

1.Permeability. Four alternative accesses for pedestrians. Transport access could be problematic on some of those.
2. Variety.  Clearly residential character with close location to all necessary facilities within district area.  There is potential for greater variety.
3. Legibility. Diverse spatial features, visual links with surrounding landmarks from several places within the site. Good perceptual clarity of edges, boundaries. Not so good clarity of the paths.
4. Robustness. There is potential for greater flexibility in using public spaces within the site.
Different spatial features could provide these options.
5. Richness. There is potential for open public space to be articulated and thus impact local community. 

 Group analysis for site between Westfield Lane and Seafield Road

1. Demarco archive.

Site on Perth Road was chosen for archive.
Here are the main aspects behind this option:

1.Permeability. Very good access both for pedestrians and transport. Strategic link to the City Centre. Problematic could be supply with HGV.
2. Variety.  Clearly urban character with all necessary facilities along Perth Road.
3. Legibilty. Consistently variable skyline and topography, visual links with landmarks almost from any point along the Perth Road.
4. Robustness. There is potential for greater flexibilty in using public spaces within the site.
5. Strategic link to the City Centre.

 Group analysis for site between Westfield Lane and Seafield Road

See more at: Demarco photographic gallery and archive. Process