The Personal Artistic Philosophy of Sean Scully

Sean Scully on his philosophical mission statement.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: What are you trying to accomplish as an artist?

Scully:    Well, it means two things I’m saying two things there.  I hold to the madness idea of evolution.  I believe in human evolution and I believe in things getting better and our slow, dreadfully slow ascent out of the mud which we came and now all our struggle to locate and endure with a better angels and that’s a romantic, idealistic philosophy but that what stands behind my work.  And what I’ve tried to do in my work is to use a language that everybody can understand.  It’s meant to be universal.  I understand of course it has a different patina and value in different cultures will register in a way that is distinct.  However,, there should be something in it that everybody can recognize therefore in a sense, in order to do that, in order to make the most common vocabulary you need to simplify and that leads you into a situation where you could be dealing with kind of banality because you are looking for the common denominator.  So, that’s the drawing part of my work.  That’s what stands behind and it’s relates to architecture doors, windows, walls, repetitive building techniques and so on that populate the whole world.  And then what I’ve done with that is I tried to connect it to the personal, so that’s what I mean of surfaces, personal - the treatment is personal.  They are all made by me, by hand so they show human labor and human love of labor.  Human dedication and I’ve tried to make it reflective of the evolution of one person, was making it as broad in terms of its matrix.  It’s linguistic matrix as possible.