scully exhibit msu
Nikolas Pfanner | Time Out Croatia

Sean Scully career retrospective opens at Zagreb’s MCA

Presenting the work of this celebrated Irish-American artist, The Passenger runs until March 12, 2023

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Nikolas Pfanner
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The Irish-American artist Sean Scully attended the opening of a new retrospective on his career at Zagreb’s Museum of Contemporary Art this week. With a body of work stretching over 50 years, Scully has created in many mediums and periods, from geometric minimalism and Rothkoesque abstract expressionism to monumental stone sculpture and much more.

His work has placed him among the most significant painters active today. Scully has won the Guggenheim Fellowship and twice been nominated for the Turner Prize. He has been featured several times at the Venice Biennale, and his 2000 show Follow the Heart: The Art of Sean Scully was the first major exhibition by a western artist in China.

scully exhibit msu
Nikolas Pfanner | Time Out Croatia

Before the retrospective opened, Scully spoke for more than an hour, remembering his career and the development of his interests. He spoke about a visit he made to Dubrovnik in the 1960s and the strong influence that the forms and spaces of the Lovrijenac Fortress had on his work, particularly his 1980 painting series Fort. Scully also discussed his process and the tools he uses in his work such as aluminium as a painting surface and spray-paint guns in relation to his working-class background.

scully exhibit msu
Nikolas Pfanner | Time Out Croatia

After the lecture, the doors to the gallery spaces opened and attendees were free to walk through the exhibition. The works here are representative of Scully’s whole career, with sketches from his youth all the way through to his latest projects, gathered in one place. The retrospective provides a fascinating insight into the artist himself, and you can see the changes in the artistic elements he used, while simultaneously following a through-line of similar ideas throughout his career.

The simplicity of the shapes and composition of Scully’s work can be deceptive, his pieces invite the viewer to come close. After some time, you notice the complexity of the paintings, with layers upon layers of paint creating a deep and sometimes inscrutable tableau of colours and detail.

Sean Scully: The Passenger

Museum of Contemporary Art Avenija Dubrovnik 17 (msu.hr/en). Open Until Mar 12. Tue-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm. Admission Standard MCA ticket 35kn. 

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