I SEE RED EVERYWHERE
Published by The Carnyx Group, Glasgow, Scotland.
Foreword by Richard Demarco.
Introduction by Peter Serracino Inglott.
Additional writings by Fiona Calder,
Neil Cameron, Richard Carr,
Richard Demarco, Emmanuel Fiorentino, Quentin Hughes, Paul Sant Cassia,
Diane Sykes, Julian Treuherz, Raphael Vella, and Kenneth Wain.
Norbert Francis Attard is one of the most important contemporary artists to have emerged from the island of Malta. A committed patron of the visual arts in general he is an increasing presence in the international arena of the contemporary art world. Maltese by birth, his cultural heritage is essentially European with a strong Mediterranean dimension. His home and studio are on the island of Gozo where he has created a new contemporary art space, GOZOcontemporary offering self-directed residencies to artists from home and abroad. This space and his own studio provide the setting and the facilities to produce multi-cultural work in a Maltese environment and he takes great pleasure in welcoming fellow artists and art patrons to this special place. At the time of our first meeting at St. James Cavalier (this was before the transformation of Malta’s magnificent fortress guarding the main entrance to Valletta, into a national centre for all the arts), in Jan 1999, Norbert was working on a sculptural installation entitled Larger Than Life - a special homage to the genius of Mattia Preti, an Italian Renaissance painter who, like Caravaggio, lived and worked in Malta for 40 years under the patronage of the Knights of St.John. Preti’s paintings and murals express and embellish the glories of Maltese Baroque and his extraordinary decoration of the interior of St John’s Cathedral in Valletta suited the temperament of the Maltese people admirably. Through his mixed-media installation at St. James Cavalier, and later at the 1999 Venice Biennale, Norbert recreated the spirit of Mattia Preti by celebrating this artist’s past achievements in Malta. At the same time he managed to celebrate this manifestation of the baroque as a characteristic of the Maltese people in their everyday lives to this day; as is shown in their wholehearted commitment and relationship to religious ceremonies and festivities. Norbert made a most effective and dramatic use of slide projections upon the walls and corridors of the St James Cavalier and focused the viewer’s attention on a television set, swinging like a great pendulum in the vaulted room on the top floor of the fortress. The images on the screen were of a Maltese wedding, one of the most obvious manifestations of the baroque still alive in Europe. Norbert Attard is a Renaissance man who personifies the artist as scientist. In Larger Than Life he proved himself to be a remarkable combination of architect, painter and sculptor as well as an able technician skilful in the manipulation of electronic media. The twelve remarkable installations in this book entitled “I See Red Everywhere” were created over the last year in Malta, England and Scotland. The title is most fitting because it expresses Norbert’s passionate commitment to making art relate to important issues facing Western society, overwhelmed by the forces of rampant materialism. In this way he strikes a note of compassion and concern for the human condition struggling to make sense of the world, a world where the work of a contemporary artist is aligned with that of an entertainer or tourist or the leisure industry. Norbert has placed himself like the late Joseph Beuys as a true avant gardist, deeply questioning the role of the artist in a time of overwhelming challenge. He works tirelessly, his eyes not on the horizon which defines the world of galleries and museums, but far beyond towards the ‘offing’ where in Beuys’s philosophy lie the possibilities of true ‘new beginnings’. The Apex Hotel in Edinburgh, the gardens of St Leonards in St Andrews and the Liverpool Biennial are now inextricably linked to key locations in Malta through the transformative power of art made as a blessing and a celebration. Richard Demarco Demarco European Arts Foundation
PETER SERRACINO INGLOTT
Born on 26 April 1936 to Oscar and Maria Calamatta, he was brought up during the post-war Maltese environment. Serracino-Inglott studied at the then Royal University of Malta (BA 1951–1955), Campion Hall, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (MA 1955–1958), the Institut Catholique de Paris (BD cum laude 1958–1960) and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Ph.D. 1960–1963) with a thesis on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. His start at the University of Malta was as a librarian in 1963 and just two years later he started teaching philosophy there. In 1971 he became an established professor at the University of Malta and served as chairperson of the University’s chair of philosophy, a post he would retain for seven years until then Prime Minister of Malta, Dom Mintoff, suspended the chair. He would return as chairperson in 1987 when the post was resumed and would consecutively retain the post until 1996. Serracino Inglott was professor of aesthetics at the ‘Instituto Internazionale di Arte e Liturgia’ at Milan, visiting professor at Panthéon-Assas University (1989–1990), UNESCOFellow at the Open University, UK (1978) and guest lecturer at the universities of Cincinnati, Milan (Cattolica), Venice (Ca Foscari), Palermo and the College of Europe at Bruges (1989, 1990). During his advisory role within the Nationalist Party, his emphasis on welfare and charity was seen as strange within a fiscally conservative environment. He was often mistaken to be partisan, but had often expressed his sympathy with the Nationalist Party due to its positive relationship with the Catholic Church in Malta. With regards to the opposing Labour Party, Fr Peter had this to say of former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff: “The great pity is that I have always had a great deal of sympathy with Mintoff’s ideas. It was his manner of implementing them that I always thought was wrong”. He was conferred honorary doctorates by Brunel University in the United Kingdom, Luther College, Iowa and the International Maritime Organization’s International Maritime Law Institute. He was also honoured by the French, Italian, Portuguese and Maltese governments respectively with the Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur (1990), Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Ordine al Merito (1995) and Companion of the Order of Merit (Malta) (1995). He was one of three Maltese representatives at the Convention on the Future of Europe presided by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, contributing to various aspects of the debate at the Convention ranging from proposed amendments to include a reference to Europe’s Christian traditions to procedural proposals to streamline the EU’s decision-making process. He was one of the founder members of the Today Public Policy Institute. The Priest was characterized as joyful, passionate about learning yet forgetful of everyday occurrences. His forgetfulness would sometimes result in comical situations which would cause confusion within his colleagues. Most notable was his office’s order; described as messy and ‘chaotic’ yet somehow logical to and only to the Rector. Fr. Peter Serracino Inglott was a lifelong friend with Maltese architect and designer Richard England. This friendship may have contributed to England’s religiosity and emphasis on theurgy within his projects. Language was at the centre of Serracino Inglott’s philosophical work with Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein as the two critical signposts on his conceptual terrain. He simultaneously sought to merge both rationalism and faith, and can be quoted saying: “The discovery of God is recognized within, especially within the Creation, and this is recognized from its study”. He had emphasized politics within his writings, placing man as ‘central’ to all political action. As advisor to the economically neo-liberal Nationalist Party, he sought to introduce some form of catholic economics within the party manifesto. Because of his care towards working class needs and leftist economics, he was often referred to as ‘the red priest’. Serracino Inglott published two principal philosophical texts (Beginning Philosophy 1987 and Peopled Silence 1995). Additionally, he wrote and expressed himself in the media on a variety of subjects (notably on biotechnology and human rights but the Mediterranean region stands out as a leitmotif in his thought and core interest. His study of language led to him writing ‘The Creative Use of Noise’ with composer Charles Camilleri. Published posthumously in 2015, the book covers a structuralist interpretation of certain audible phenomena, the meaning of noise itself and the value of audible aesthetics. Despite his social conservatism, Fr. Peter would still grant rationality great importance, even during situations which would grand controversy. In 2006 he infamously contradicted the Catholic Church’s position on conception of human life as he argued that during the first fourteen days after fertilization, the entity present cannot be defined as a person. A former student, Mario Vella, wrote a critical assessment of Serracino Inglott as philosopher, Reflections in a Canvas Bag: Beginning Philosophy Between Politics and History. Fr. Peter is remembered for his contributions towards philosophy, mainly his hours of lectures and talks on language, culture and aesthetics. Fr. Peter Serracino Inglott died on 16 March 2012. He was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and was treated at Mater Dei Hospital.The funeral took place at the Church of Saint Paul, Valletta.
Demarco was a co-founder of the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in 1963. Three years later he and other organisers of the theatre's gallery space left the Traverse to establish what became the Richard Demarco Gallery.The gallery, which doubled as a performance venue during the Edinburgh Fringe, ran from 1966 to 1992. For many years, the Demarco Gallery promoted cultural links with Eastern Europe, both in terms of presenting artists such as Paul Neagu from 1969, Marina Abramović from 1973 and Neue Slowenische Kunst from 1986 within Scotland, organising exhibitions of contemporary Polish, Romanian and Yugoslav art and in establishing outgoing connections for Scottish artists across Europe. Demarco's involvement with the artist Joseph Beuys led to various presentations, from Strategy Get Arts in 1970 to Beuys' hunger strike during the Jimmy Boyle Days in 1980. Also particularly notable were the presentations by Tadeusz Kantor's Cricot 2 group during the 1970s and 1980s, including a celebrated unofficial performance of The Water Hen at the former Edinburgh poorhouse during the 1972 Edinburgh Festival. Cricot 2 returned to Edinburgh in later years. Demarco introduced Beuys and Kantor to one another and in one performance of Lovelies and Dowdies Beuys performed under Kantor's direction. For many years, after the Scottish Arts Council withdrew its annual grant in 1980 following controversy associated with Joseph Beuys' support for Jimmy Boyle, the Demarco Gallery led a financially straitened existence. Since the early 1990s, Richard Demarco's activity has continued under the auspices of the Demarco European Art Foundation. In November 2008 a substantial selection from Demarco's archives, covering the period 1963–1980, was made available on-line by the University of Dundee [see below for direct link to online archive]. Images of Demarco's activities during this period, in particular collaborations with Joseph Beuys, Tadeusz Kantor, Paul Neagu and Marina Abramović are available in the selection from the Demarco archives. Detailed documentation of the Edinburgh Arts journeys from 1972 to 1980 are also available in this selection. Demarco has presented several thousand art exhibitions, plays, music, conferences, and various other performances, mainly in Edinburgh, involving artists from at least sixty countries, including all of central and eastern Europe during the Cold War, North and South America, all countries of western Europe, Australasia, and from Southern Africa, Middle East, and other parts of Asia. Exhibitions and festival programmes were also organised by him and his Demarco European Arts Foundation in other countries including Poland, Lithuania, Croatia, Bosnia, Malta, Georgia, Hungary, Italy to name but a few. His 'Edinburgh Arts' journeys criss-crossed all of Europe, taking artists and academics from other countries alongside those of Scotland to visit interesting people, great collections, cities, landscapes, and events, to examine Europe's cultural history of the past 5,000 years. It is for his consistent internationalism that he was being successfully nominated as European Citizen of the Year 2013. This also followed from his exhibition "Scotland in Europe: Europe in Scotland" in Brussels in 2011. His own artworks were included in the Italian pavilion of the 2011 Venice Biennale. In 2013 Demarco organised an Italo-Scottish pavilion at the Venice Biennale, his fourth pavilion there.