Sean Scully (b. 1945), the internationally acclaimed Irish painter, maintaining studios in New York, Barcelona and on the outskirts of Munich, is staging a comprehensive retrospective of his work from 19 February to 3 May 2009 in the MKM Museum Küppersmühle
Constantinople or The Sensual Concealed presents some 60 works and groups of works, arranged thematically in separate rooms, which afford a comprehensive insight into the artists creative output.
In his work, Scully combines European and American pictorial traditions. His abstract paintings are possessed of an austere pictorial structure, divided up into grids by contrasting coloured stripes, bars and fields, which penetrate or overlap each other. At the same time, the haptic quality of his paintings captivates the viewer: a concealed sensuality evokes a rich world of imagery, which whilst remaining elusive, is always present and arouses curiosity. In this way, Scully succeeds in encapsulating emotions, atmospheres, associations and images within his abstract compositions. Titles such as Darkness and Heat, Happy Days, Königin der Nacht or Mirror Silver underscore the narrative moment. It is this intimation of the real world, of the objects, of the countless stories lying beyond, beneath and between the geometrical form of the rectangle which characterise the enormous power of the paintings of Sean Scully. Of this Susanne Kleine, the curator of the exhibition, is convinced.
Scully continually explores the underlying foundations of abstraction by highlighting the intrinsic value of the artistic means the aesthetics of pure form, pure surface and pure colour - and placing it at the heart of his work. As Sean Scully himself stated in an interview for the exhibition catalogue: My paintings talk of relationships. How bodies come together. How they touch. How they separate. How they live together, in harmony and disharmony. The character of bodies changes constantly through my work. According to color. The opacity and transparency of how the surface is made. This gives it its character and its nature. Its edge defines its relationship to its neighbor and how it exists in context. My paintings want to tell stories that are an abstracted equivalent of how the world of human relationships is made and unmade. How it is possible to evolve as a human being, in this.