The Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery is the first institution in the Central Eastern European region to host a retrospective of the life’s work of Sean Scully. Scully ranks among the foremost living exponents of abstract art, with an oeuvre that is characterised simultaneously by formal reduction and referential complexity, geometric construction and eloquent self-expression. The exhibition presents around 110 artworks by Scully and aims to give an overview of all his main groups of works and creative periods: besides his monumental paintings, visitors can see a rich selection of his works on paper, as well as a photograph and a sculpture, illustrating the wide range of media the artist has used in his career. A further prominent aspect of the exhibition is the section focusing on Scully's writings, notes and sketches, which provide valuable insight into his creative process. A defining theme of the exhibition is Scully’s dialogue with European painting traditions, which are diversely represented in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts. Section by section, the exhibition reveals the complex layers of motifs, styles and references in Scully’s work, a boundless discourse with art historical and cultural historical traditions.
Dávid Fehér, the exhibition’s curator, taking a host of new approaches in presenting the life’s work of Sean Scully, both in the halls of the Hungarian National Gallery and in the catalogue. Supreme experts on the art of Sean Scully have published substantial essays in the exhibition catalogue. The artist’s monographer, David Carrier, has written a multifaceted and personal overview of Scully’s career. Kelly Grovier, the editor and author of numerous essential publications about the artist, provides an exciting account examining the relationship between words and pictures, and the importance of literary references and artwork titles in Scully’s oeuvre. Raphy Sarkissian, who has intimate knowledge of Scully’s art, informs us about the stylistic turning points in the artist’s career, in an essay that is brimming with new perceptions. An earlier major essay on Sean Scully by Arthur C. Danto is republished, and a wide selection of the artist’s own writings is included, several of which are printed here for the first time.