The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb will open the large retrospective exhibition Passenger of the American abstract painter Sean Scully, one of the leading and exceptionally successful artists of his generation. The author of the exhibition is Dávid Fehér, director of the Central European Research Institute for Art History and curator of 20th-century contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, while Jasna Jakšić, Ivana Kancir, and Ana Škegro have curated the Zagreb exhibition. The retrospective presents sixty-four of Scully’s seminal artworks – canvases, works on paper, photographs, and sculptures – as an extremely valuable cross-section of the painter’s work over the past 50 years.
Sean Scully’s exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb is an exceptional opportunity to see his monumental compositions, as well as works of smaller formats, in one of the newest and largest exhibition venues in this part of Europe. As the final stop on the series of exhibitions – that began with the exquisite Scully retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, and continued at the Benaki Museum in Athens and MAMbo in Bologna – the Zagreb version of the retrospective is primarily a recapitulation adapted to the spatial specificities of MSU, but also, to a large extent, to the dialogue with its own heritage. It should be kept in mind that MSU was one of the first public institutions in the world to call itself contemporary and that, since its foundation in 1954, it has been passionately representing and promoting abstract art. It is also globally recognised as one of the key centres of early computer art.
Looking at Sean Scully’s oeuvre from the mid-sixties to the present day, the upcoming retrospective opens up a whole series of potential narratives, concurrences and contacts that may have happened in the past, as well as the foreboding of some future, perhaps unexpected recognitions of affinities and aspirations. The exhibition opens with the Passenger as its title section which, in its nomadic features, combines the utopia of the universal language of art – constantly aspired to, at least declaratively – with the life experience of the artist, himself an emigrant. His intimate statement and personal history, abstracted into the visual language and its signs, construct the exhibition as an authentic testimony to an artistic journey that retains traces of doubts, uncertainties and disappointed hopes in the world of art and its complex unwritten rules and never-published laws.