Major new work by Sean Scully unveiled to mark the formal completion of Hanover Square

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Major new work by Sean Scully unveiled to mark the formal completion of Hanover Square

LONDON - Tuesday 18 April, 2023 -

Landline, a major new work by internationally acclaimed artist Sean Scully RA, was unveiled on Tuesday 18 April 2023 to mark the formal completion of Hanover Square, one of the oldest and most important civic spaces in London, following a transformational redevelopment.  The work will be the artist’s first permanently installed sculpture in London.

The sculpture brings together layers of coloured marble into a single compressed tower that reflects the deep layers and sediments of history and lived experiences of the diverse people that Hanover Square and London’s West End represents.  The selected marbles translate the layered landscape of Hanover Square itself, the new gardens and surrounding buildings – the grey, sand and ochre of the footways and buildings, and the greens and blue-greens of the trees. Compressed together they create a chord that reflects the musical history of the area – the Hanover Music Rooms and Handel’s connections with Brook Street and St George’s Church.

Sean Scully, Artist, said: “The marble is a natural material that is taken from the ground and has, as a consequence, a profound relationship with Nature. The colors that I've chosen serve to reflect the everchanging, quixotic nature of the London sky, which informs the daily ambiance of Hanover Square, where people live and work."

Over the course of his 50-year career, Sean Scully has created an influential body of work that has changed the development of contemporary abstraction.  Often structured around stripes or layered blocks of colour arranged on horizontal and vertical axes, the layers in his paintings attain a fine balance between calm reflection and an intrinsic vitality.

Cllr Adam Hug, Leader of Westminster City Council, said: “Millions of visitors, as well as our own residents, enjoy the many open spaces that make Westminster the unique place it is. Hanover Square, one of London’s first formal squares, is a gem in the heart of the City and the overhaul and reinvention of this location makes it sparkle even more brightly.  The impressive artwork by Sean Scully will prove just one more reason why people want to spend time here. As the Elizabeth Line brings more people into the area, the revamped Hanover Square is a place to spend time in whether you are a resident, a visitor heading to see nearby art galleries or an office worker looking for a pause in the middle of the day.  It has been a pleasure to partner with NWEC on this development, and I look forward to Hanover Square being a key draw for the millions who visit the West End and for residents to enjoy.”

Dee Corsi, Chief Executive, New West End Company, commented: “The unveiling of Sean Scully’s sculpture today marks the completion of the transformation of Hanover Square, where private and public sector bodies have come together to significantly enhance the quality of public realm provision in the West End.  Not only has this square become a celebrated gateway into London’s West End and a tranquil haven where you can watch the world go by, it also marks the entry point to the internationally renowned gallery quarter of Mayfair, making it an even more fitting destination to become the permanent home to this major public art commission.”

Hanover Square was one of the first formal open spaces to be laid out in London during the Georgian period, began in 1714 and built between 1717-19.  Over the past 10 years, the Square has undergone a complete transformation to prepare for the arrival of the Elizabeth Line and a new entrance for Bond Street Station, located in the north west corner of the Square.  Following the initial design phase, work began on the renovation of the Square in 2016 and the gardens were restored and completed in September 2021.  Inspired by the landscaping of the gardens, Landline will act as a meeting place and a beacon, guiding visitors towards Mayfair, one of the world’s most dynamic gallery districts, featuring over 150 galleries alongside the Royal Academy of Arts.

The scheme has been led by Westminster City Council, supported by New West End Company, and in partnership with Great Portland Estates, Transport for London, Crossrail, the Crown Estate, Clivedale, Fenwick, and other neighbouring landowners and developers, to ensure the city’s historic places remain a well designed  part of London’s vision for the future. The design was created and delivered by a multidisciplinary team, commissioned by Westminster City Council, and included Publica, WSP, FMC Conway, and NRP.


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Notes to Editors:

Sean Scully

Sean Scully was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1945. Four years later his family moved to London where they lived in a working-class part of South London. By the age of 9, Scully knew he wanted to become an artist. His apprenticeship as a typesetter at a commercial printing shop in London in the early 60’s greatly influenced the art to come. At the age 20, he began to study full-time at Croydon College of Art, London, before moving on to Newcastle University in 1968. In 1970 Sean Scully won the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation prize, and in 1972 he received a runner-up prize in the 1972 John Moores Painting Prize, and was awarded the Frank Knox fellowship to attend Harvard University. In 1975, at the age of 30, Scully was awarded a two-year Harkness Fellowship with which he moved to New York.

Sean Scully’s work is in the collection of virtually every major museum around the world. In 2014, he became the only Western artist to have had a career-length retrospective exhibition in China. This led to his being awarded the International Artist of the Year Prize in Hong Kong in 2018.  2018-2019 also saw important solo exhibitions such as Landline at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., which toured to the Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut, USA; Landline and other works at the De Pont Museum in the Netherlands; a retrospective titled Vita Duplex at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany; Sea Star at The National Gallery, London, and the first major exhibition of Sean Scully’s sculptures at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK. Eleuthera, Sean Scully’s new figurative paintings were given a solo exhibition at The Albertina, Vienna; the retrospective Long Light opened at the Villa and Collection Panza, Varese, Italy; and HUMAN, an exhibition of new paintings and sculpture was shown at San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Italy, for the 58th Venice Art Biennale. In 2020 the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest opened Passenger, a major retrospective and his first exhibition in Central Europe, which travelled to the Benaki Museum, Athens, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia.  2022 was marked by the major fifty-year career retrospective Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in the USA, previously shown at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas in 2021, alongside three further retrospectives: Song of Color at the Langen Foundation, Neuss, Germany; Painting and Sculpture, at the Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej (CSW), Toruń, Poland; A Wound in a Dance with Love, MAMbo Museum of Modern Art of Bologna, Italy; and a further important solo exhibition Material World, at the Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark. A major solo exhibition of paintings and sculpture opens at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, running 23 April – 29 October 2023.

Sean Scully lives and works between New York, London, Aix-en-Provence and Bavaria.