Art and Healing


Art and Healing

May 2019
The Demarco Archive at la Scuola Grande di San Marco in Venice, Italy

Video by Dr Marco Federici,

This manifestation of the Demarco Archive – was held not in a contemporary gallery, but in a historic, landmark building in Venice, which has been since the 13th century until today associated with coming together of the worlds of art and medical science.

La Scuola Grande di San Marco was founded in the 13th century and contains many masterpieces by many important Venetian artists including Giacomo Tintoretto. It is also famous for an extraordinary library, defining the beginning of medical science in Italy. The first Edinburgh Festival in 1947 came into being as a manifestation of all the arts as a “healing balm,” then necessary to heal with the wounds inflicted by the global tragedy of WWII. The Demarco Archive ascends to the condition of a large scale artwork and thus can be best described by the German word “Gesamtkunstwerk” (a total artwork). It expresses Joseph Beuys’ concept of “social sculpture.”

This exhibition was presented alongside a fourteen day symposium, inspired by the histories of both the Edinburgh Festival and the Venice Biennale. It was also a 2019 manifestation of the spirit of “Edinburgh Arts” – the Demarco Gallery’s experimental “university” of all the arts. In this way it focused on the importance of art education in primary, secondary and tertiary levels. In this way, it juxtaposed the art of Ian Hamilton-Finlay, Paul Neagu, Joseph Beuys, Tadeusz Kantor – with that of the senior art students and teachers at Glenalmond College. “Art and Healing” as an exhibition and symposium, was planned to strengthen the cultural dialogue between Scotland and Europe with a particular emphasis on Romanian, Italian, Polish, German and French cultural aspects of Edinburgh Arts programmes since 1972.

“Art and Healing” in Venice was linked to the exhibition inspired by Celtic landscapes and seascapes associated with the River Clyde, therefore linking the waters of the Venice lagoon with those of the Kyles of Bute.