Barcelona, 23 August 2021
Irish-American artist Sean Scully. /
MARC VILA (BCN)
The celebrated visual artist Sean Scully, born Irish and nationalized American, has left his home in Barcelona, where he lived for part of the year with his wife, the Swiss photographer Lilianne Tomasko, according to the painter himself in a report in the ‘Financial Times’. Scully and his wife, who are fluent in Spanish, say they were forced to leave because of the city’s nationalistic climate. ” In Barcelona, you went to meetings and they always spoke in Catalan, as if to say ‘you fuck yourself'”,the painter says. In addition, in that same article, he complains that the couple’s son, Oisin, a 12-year-old boy who attended school in Barcelona, was told that he should speak Catalan instead of Spanish during school recess. The 76-year-old artist, who has homes and studios in New York, London, Munich and Berlin, has complained about the pressure he claims to have suffered: “And in the end, we couldn’t stand Barcelona for that shit.”
Scully and Tomasko have changed their residence in Barcelona for the French city of Aix-en-Provence. Twice nominated for the Turner Prize, the painter, who has exhibited in Europe and the United States, has work in such important museums as the Metropolitan, MoMa and the Guggenheim in New York.
In 2015, he inaugurated a permanent space that bears his name in the chapel of the Monastery of Santa Cecilia in Montserrat . Large wall paintings and stained glass windows are exhibited there in which the artist wanted to express his connection with the monastery in a kind of spiritual inspiration that he has defined as “physical”. Likewise, Scully was in negotiations with the Barcelona City Council in 2014 to donate 200 works in exchange for them being in their own museum space; the negotiations did not work. It cannot be said, then, that Scully has no sympathy for Catalonia in general and Barcelona in particular.
Scully’s style, difficult to define, is framed in a geometric and emotional abstraction based on vibrant colors and overlapping layers.