Duns plays host to Exploring Modern Scottish Sculpture conference

Artist and arts promoter Richard Demarco CBE
Artist and arts promoter Richard Demarco CBE

Artist and arts promoter Richard Demarco CBE will tell a special conference that Scottish sculpture is under-celebrated and faces a daunting future.

However, he believes that the work of Marchmont House, represents a beacon of hope.

Demarco will be among the artists, curators, auctioneers, dealers, collectors and enthusiasts due to gather at the beautiful mid-18th century Palladian mansion in the Borders for Exploring Modern Scottish Sculpture @ Marchmont House, on 21 September.

It will explore what Scottish sculpture stands for and think about its future. It will also shine a light on the lives and careers of inspiring artists from Eduardo Paolozzi, William Turnbull, Gerald Laing to locally-based figures like Tim Stead, Rory Mcewen, Charlie Poulsen and Keith McCarter.

The event offers the chance to see the superb collection of modern sculpture from across the UK that has been created at Marchmont House.

Demarco will be part of a panel of speakers from public and independent groups discussing how they are supporting the arts in Scotland and what more can be done.

He said: “Scottish sculpture has been under-celebrated even though the country has been home to some highly important sculptors.”

Among the inspirational names are Arthur Watson, David Mach and Kate Whiteford. Demarco also points to Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Spartaand the William Turnbull sculpture in the grounds of Marchmont House as excellent examples of what Scotland has produced.

Demarco will say that Scotland and its politicians need to develop bold initiatives to celebrate its artists, inspire new generations and put art at the heart of society.

He said: “The task facing our art world is daunting when I compare Scotland to Italy where, in the heart of the Tuscan hills, is the incomparable collection created by Giuliano Gori in what is known as La Fattoria di Celle.

“Our Scottish politicians should consider the fact that Joseph Beuys’ concept of sculpture was defined as ‘social sculpture’ signifying that the art of the sculptor should be identified with the reshaping of the structure of human society.”

The work already taking place to make Marchmont House a centre for Scottish visual arts and craft gives some cause for hope.

Demarco said: “Happily, Marchmont House gives me good cause to believe in the future of modern art in Scotland now it is once again securely identified with the patronage of the visual arts.

“This is due to the extraordinary commitment of Hugo Burge to identify the inspiring Palladian architecture of Marchmont House with the language of the visual arts expressed in an art collection of international significance.”

Exploring Modern Scottish Sculpture @ Marchmont Houseis supported by Edinburgh-based Lyon & Turnbull and London gallery Pangolin.

It is the second in a year long series of events promoting Scottish art that has been organised by Marchmont House in collaboration with Lyon & Turnbull fine art auctioneers.

Those taking part include Scottish artists David Mach RA and Kenny Hunter, senior curators and academics such as Bill Hare and Alice Strang, and visual and performing artschampion Andrew Patrizo.

Marchmont’s Director Hugo Burge, said: “It is an honour to have Richard Demarco return to Marchmont, where he previously worked with the McEwen family to support Scottish arts – to build on the creative DNA the house has had and to look to the future. I’m excited we will be hosting a magical collection of artists, experts and enthusiasts to celebrate the subject of modern Scottish Sculpture, celebrate hidden stories and celebrate a purposeful future for the role of art in Scotland.

“In a new development, I’m over the moon to announce that we are also working with the Tim Stead Trust to give a taster of this powerful story of an important art environmentalist that should be more widely known about. The Scottish Borders is a fertile landscape of amazing creativity and our hope is that Marchmont can play a role in supporting that.”

Philip Smith, Associate Director of Lyon & Turnbull, said: “We are delighted to be part of such an exciting movement to promote Scottish. Marchmont is the perfect location to host a forum, the presentation of such a wonderful contemporary sculpture collection in an historic Scottish setting will make for a truly unique event.”

The tour of the sculpture at Marchmont House This will include the chance to see work by William Turnbull, Gerald Laing, Eduardo Paolozzi, Steve Dilworth, Tim Stead, Rory McEwen and locally based artists Keith McCarter, Charlie Poulsen and Frippy Jameson.

Tickets are available at a range of prices for each event through Eventbrite