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November 16, 2022–March 12, 2023
Public lecture by Sean Scully: November 16, 6pm
Passenger, a big retrospective of Sean Scully, is presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb two years after it was initially performed at the Museum of Fine Arts—Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, from where it afterwards proceeded to the Benaki Museum in Athens and MAMbo in Bologna. The exhibition includes 64 of Scully’s works, including paintings, works on paper, photographs, and a sculpture, providing an amazing cross-section of the painter’s work during the last 50 years. The retrospective has evolved as a result of discussions with the museum’s architecture, as well as with its own history. Since its inception in 1954, the Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb has been actively presenting and supporting abstract art as one of the world’s first public art institutions to proclaim itself contemporary.
Sean Scully’s show is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience his heroic, monumental, and emotionally enveloping art at one of Central Europe’s largest art museums. Looking at his work from the mid-1960s to the present, the impending retrospective reveals a plethora of potential storylines, concurrences, and contacts that may have occurred in the past, as well as the foreshadowing of future, possibly unexpected recognitions of affinities and goals. The retrospective begins with the title segment Passenger, which mixes the utopia of the universal language of art with the artist’s own personal experience as an emigrant. His personal background and intimate declaration, abstracted into visual language, make the show an authentic testament of a creative journey that remains traces of doubts and misgivings in the world of art and its intricate unwritten laws.
Scully’s works, which range from intimate drawings and pastels to early figural explorations and sculptural painting surfaces, are supposed to become “hard earned demanding surfaces” in the Museum’s huge halls, as the artist would put it. A stroll through the show exposes some of his fundamental interventions in the medium of painting, to which he has reintroduced dignity and inventiveness. As a result, in front of his mammoth works, time seems to stand still—at least for a moment.
Sean Scully‘s stories and memories—his “emotional painting,” as he calls it—can bring us back to the essential: interaction with ourselves and with others. Visitors can reach the universal by starting with the personal—from humanism and empathy, the backbone of Scully’s message to the world—just as he claims he is “using the language of the universal to produce something personal.”
Sean Scully will conduct a public lecture at 6pm on November 16 in the Gorgona Hall at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit will be on display until March 12, 2023.
The author of the retrospective is Dávid Fehér from the Museum of Fine Arts—Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, while Jasna Jakšić, Ivana Kancir, and Ana Škegro have curated the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Avenija Dubrovnik 17