The Shanghai Biennale is often referred to as the most important event in the Chinese art calendar. Next week will see its launch with the first major retrospective exhibition by a Western artist, Sean Scully. The exhibition takes place at the Shanghai Himalayas Museum, opening on 24 November 2014.
The exhibition, Follow the Heart: The Art of Sean Scully 1964-2014, revisits the British/American artist’s career over the past 50 years in over 100 works including some of his most iconic and important pieces, such as Night and Day (279 x 812cm), some of his great 1980s paintings, which overturned the orthodoxies of minimalism, and many of the famous Wall of Light paintings.
The artist has also created a new large-scale sculpture titled China Piled Up, inspired by his first visit to China, specially for the exhibition. The exhibition has been arranged in association with Philip Dodd whose agency, Made in China has worked with major Chinese and UK cultural institutions and was creative consultant on Thomas Heatherwick’s award-winning Pavilion for Shanghai Expo 2010.
The Shanghai Himalayas Art Museum, designed by Arata Isozaki, is a privately-funded, non-profit institution focusing on exhibitions, education programmes, collection displays, research and academic exchange. The museum presented a major exhibition of works by Tony Cragg in 2012. The founder of the museum, Dai Zhikang said: “I am delighted to welcome Sean Scully’s exhibition to the Shanghai Himalayas Museum. We are excited to introduce his work to China and to Chinese audiences. Chinese calligraphy is the most Asian expression of abstract art – and we look forward to a wonderful exchange between West and East.”
Sean Scully has gained international prominence as one of the most admired contemporary abstract painters working today. Born in Dublin in 1945, he moved to England with his family in 1949. He studied at Croydon College of Art (1965–7), and then studied and taught at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1967–71), and in the USA at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1972–3). In 1975 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship and established his studio in New York, where he settled, becoming an American citizen in 1983.
His work has been exhibited internationally and is held by numerous public collections worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The National Gallery of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth; Tate, London; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20K21, Düsseldorf; Albertina, Vienna; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and Instituto Valencia d’Arte Modern, Valencia. He lives and works in New York, Barcelona and Munich.
Photo: © P C Robinson Artlyst 2014