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«Information Sheet SEAN SCULLY Retrospective 22 July to 7 October 2012 DVR-Nummer 0002852 LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz, A-4021 Linz, Ernst-Koref-Promenade ...»

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LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz

Information Sheet



22 July to 7 October 2012

DVR-Nummer 0002852

LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz, A-4021 Linz, Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1

Tel: +43 (0)732.7070-3600 Fax: +43 (0)732.7070-3604 www.lentos.at


Exhibition Facts ……………………………………………………………………………. 3

Press Text …………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Biography ……………………………………………………………………………………. 5 Room Texts.……………………………………………………………………………....... 6 Catalogue Foreword ………………….…………………………………………..…….….. 20 Press Images ……………………………………………………………………………….. 23 Seite 2 Exhibition Facts Exhibition Title: SEAN SCULLY. Retrospective Exhibition Period 22 July to 7 October 2012 Opening Saturday, 21 July 2012, 7 p.m.

Press Conference Friday, 20 July 2012, 11 a.m.

Venue LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz, huge exhibition hall Curator Brigitte Reutner Exhibits 37 paintings and 7 photographs Cooperation The exhibition is the result of a cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bern, where it was shown from 9th March to 24th of June, 2012.

Catalogue The exhibitions are accompanied by the catalogue SEAN SCULLY.

Grey Wolf – Retrospective in german and english language. Ed. By Matthias Frehner and Stella Rollig. With essays by Stella Rollig, Matthias Frehner, Annick Haldemann and Brigitte Reutner, as well as numerous illustrations, 208 pages, Price € 28,-.

ISBN 978-3-86859-183-5 Support The exhibition is supported by Raiffeisen Landesbank Oberösterreich.

Room Texts are available in german and english.

Edited and texts by: Brigitte Reutner, Dunja Schneider Kontakt Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1, 4020 Linz, Tel. +43(0)732/7070-3600;

info@lentos.at, www.lentos.at Öffnungszeiten Di–So 10–18 Uhr, Do 10–21 Uhr, Mo geschlossen (außer 9.4.) Eintritt € 6,50, ermäßigt € 4,50 Pressekontakt Mag.a Nina Kirsch, Tel. +43(0)732/7070-3603, nina.kirsch@lentos.at

Available at the Press Conference:

Sean Scully, Artist Stella Rollig, Director LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz Brigitte Reutner, Curator Helmut Schützeneder, Raiffeisen Landesbank Oberösterreich

–  –  –

The exhibition Sean Scully is the first major solo exhibition of the artist in Austria in over ten years. With the presentation of about fifty paintings and photographs, LENTOS shows an extensive cross-section of the work by the Irish-born artist, who lives today in New York City, Barcelona and Bavaria.

In Scully’s early work, a grid system with multiply overlapping color stripes results in unusual optical effects. In the course of the 1980s the artist developed a form of painting the emphasizes the brush strokes. Hard edges are undermined in the painting, contours merge with one another. Lighter stripes are effectively contrasted with darker ones. The resulting dynamic is enhanced with an additional tension through the carefully calculated coloration. Scully’s large format, sometimes multipart paintings and his picture-in-a-picture combinations are among the icons of the


painting of the 20th and 21st century.

At the same time, Scully’s work is more than a highly elegant artistic reflection masterfully making use of its means. It explores how painting can accompany a life, both that of the painter and of his audience: as a store of memories, as a poetic echo of what has been seen, as an expanded space of possibilities.

Seite 4Biography

1945 Born in Dublin, Ireland.

1949 The family moves to London.

1965–68 Attends Croydon College in London;

1968–72 Studies painting at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; creates works of line and grid systems. The artist receives a scholarship to go to Cambridge, USA.

1973 Scully exhibits in the Rowan Gallery in London, begins teaching at Goldsmith’s College of Art and Design in London in the same year.

1975 Moves to New York 1980 Trip to Mexico. Scully uses watercolors to transcribe the experience of color and light directly onto paper.

1987 Scully develops his picture-in-picture procedure (inset): he places smaller pictures in larger ones.

1989 First European solo exhibition (London, Madrid and Munich).

1993 Nominated for the Turner-Prize.

1994 Sets up a new studio for himself in Barcelona.

1997 Solo exhibition in the New Gallery of the City of Linz (today: LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz).

1999 Scully moves into a studio in New York 2002–07 Teaches painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.

2007 Marries the painter Liliane Tomasko.

2009 Their son Oisín is born.

2012 Exhibitions Grey Wolf – Retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Bern and SEAN SCULLY. Retrospective in LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz.

Scully lives in New York, Barcelona and near Munich.

–  –  –

Introduction The exhibition SEAN SCULLY. Retrospective is Sean Scully’s first major solo exhibition in Austria in over ten years. With the presentation of about fifty paintings and photographs LENTOS shows a comprehensive cross-section of the Irish-born artist’s oeuvre.

As an artist with European roots, with his finely nuanced paintings Sean Scully continues the tradition of painting, having knowledgeably traced its history back to the early Renaissance. Scully probes how painting can accompany life, that of the painter as well as of his audience: as a store of memories, a poetic afterimage of what has been seen, an expanded space of possibilities.

The grid structures in Scully’s early works were inspired by the inter-crossing railway bridges in his university city of Newcastle. In the early 1980s the artist’s work changed fundamentally. He moved from acrylic to oil painting using a weton-wet technique. The brush stroke thus remains visible in his works. The final coloration is created directly on the support as a result of multiple overpaintings.

The joints that are drawn irregularly between the individual color fields represent organic transitions between color blocks, imbuing the pictures with spontaneity and vitality. A change in the artist’s works becomes evident beginning in 2009, as brighter, warmer shades of color have made the paintings glow since then: “One of the keys to my work is the desire to create a light that promises eternity.” (Sean Scully, 1995) The exhibition has been arranged in cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bern. The artist has been kind enough to provide a brief commentary for each painting in the exhibition.

The questions or beginnings of sentences here are from Annick Haldemann, curator of the Scully exhibition in the Kunstmuseum Bern, and Brigitte Reutner, curator of the exhibition in Linz. Scully’s commentaries are found in the original English version on the wall next to the art works, German translations are found here in the brochure.

Seite 6 Soft Ending, 1969 Acrylic on canvas, private collection In 1969 Scully traveled to Morocco for the first time. The stripes and colors of the local weaving and the light of the south profoundly impressed him. The painting is one of the artist‘s early works. It shows influences from Optical Art (cf. Glossary) and from Geometrical Abstraction (cf. Glossary). It was executed in acrylic technique with an airbrush and adhesive tape.

The year 1969 was an exciting year for me, because …...I had a big studio at the end of the building in the last town in England before Scotland. So I thought of my room as the last corner, artistically speaking, of England, and that made it very exciting.

Blaze, 1971 Acrylic on canvas, private collection As a student the artist painted large-format pictures showing a complicated, intersecting system of lines and grids. This in turn creates a multi-layered, optical field.

Blaze is fascinating, because ….

... it represents a picture of a virtual world that looks like a computer cyberspace and it is important to know that this painting was made before the invention of computers.

Inset #2, 1973 Acrylic on canvas, private collection In 1972–73 Scully continued his studies at the Harvard University in Cambridge, USA, where he experimented with new techniques. In the lower area of the painting, two fields evince a structure similar to the background in the other fields. The painting Inset #2 thus paves the way for the disintegration of the geometrical grid structure.

Following his return from the US, Scully exhibited at the Rowan Gallery in London. During this first solo exhibition the 28-year-old artist sold all the paintings presented.

To me, communication means … Communication means „communicate“ and this painting has a subject, an obvious subject. It’s a woven, non-geometric insert, falling into a virtual, again cyber-light city landscape and this gives the painting a strange, difficult, and fascinating quality.

It’s quite a crazy painting.

Seite 7 Black on Black, 1979 Oil paint over acrylic on canvas, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid In 1975 Scully relocated to the US. In 1979, while working on Black on Black, he taught as a professor at the Princeton University, New Jersey. With the emphatic reduction to two differently bright shades of black, he takes up ideas from Minimal Art (cf. Glossary) in Black on Black.

What is the significance of the color black?

The significance of the color black is that of course, it is never black. It seems to be absolute but it is not. And all these colors, all these blacks that I used then, are all nocturnal colors, so it shows a deeply romantic impulse with strong ZEN underpinning.

Backs and Fronts, 1981 Oil on canvas, private collection Backs and Fronts is considered one of Sean Scully‘s key works. The work is six meters long and consists of eleven panels. The outside edges are stepped, so that single parts of the picture optically advance or recede. Minor overlaps in color on the contours of the stripes imbue the picture motif with a lively vibration.

For my development, this picture means …... a significant combination and an equally significant declaration of what I would do in the following decade. I am making relationships that seem difficult, arbitrary.

The Bather, 1983 Oil on canvas, private collection In 1983 Scully became a US citizen. With large format paintings like Backs and Fronts, The Bather and Outback he attracted the attention of the art world. Participation in the legendary group exhibition An international survey of recent paintings and sculptures at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1983 contributed to the artist‘s growing international reputation.

What is behind the title “The Bather”?

Generally I was trying to retrieve the idea of the figure, the inset, the insert. And this painting, being an homage to Matisse’s painting, the orange bar is exactly the same size as my shoulders. I took it off my own body to find the size of it.

Seite 8 Music, 1986 Oil on canvas, private collection Important museums began to acquire and exhibit Scully’s paintings in the 1980s. In the course of his artistic development, the artist’s pictures became increasingly corporeal, architectonic and more direct in statement.

Music has to be exhibited, because…...it has an open kind of beauty. It has an inclusive diagonal which makes everything turn to movement. It breaks the architectural reference that is in nearly all my work and refers to something else, in this case, music.

Catherine, 1987 Oil on canvas, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Donation of the Burnett Foundation Beginning in 1979 Scully gave several newly created works the title Catherine. The artist initially chose classical pictures for this series, later they were more expressionist or experimental works. What they all have in common is that they are dedicated to a certain specific woman.

Catherine Lee is an American artist …...who I was married to for many years and who I painted a picture in honor of every year.

They do not represent necessarily the most resolved or the most classical paintings but for me the most interesting, personally, in some way, paintings that I learn from.

Day Night, 1990 Oil on canvas, private collection Day Night works entirely with color values between white and black. The representation of light thus advances into the foreground. The composition consists of three gradated parts.

The middle panel is raised and approaches the viewer, whereas the two side parts recede.

The division into three parts takes up the idea of the medieval triptych (cf. Glossary) and imbues the works with an aura of the sacral. Day Night tells in three sequences how the day moves into the distance to make way for night.

The effect of light in paintings by Caspar David Friedrich …... is extremely subtle. On one hand his paintings seem simply illustrative, yet the quality that elevates them is the edges between things. One can say this emphatically about my work. My work depends always on the edges between things.

Seite 9 Union Black, 1995 Oil on canvas, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf Scully’s compositions demonstrate the relationships between the individual parts of the picture. Interwoven colors and forms thus lead from one point of the painting to a more distant one. Like the figure of the knight in a game of chess, they lead the viewers right across the entire picture space. At the same time, the color black is a consistent component.

The contrast of black and white …... is always an attempt to show closure, finality and directness or simultaneously the idea unembellished by the complexities of color which are like emotional weather.

Uriel, 1997 Oil on canvas, LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz There was already a solo exhibition of the artist in 1997 in the New Gallery of the City of Linz (predecessor institution of the LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz). The painting Uriel was acquired for the collection at the conclusion of the exhibition. Uriel is the name of an archangel.

To me, angels mean …... messengers between two worlds, and I am fascinated by messengers and bridge builders and the other side.

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