I felt that around the turn of the century, there were two artists who understood the 20th century in a very profound way: one was van Gogh, who understood it with a sense of urgency and hysteria that force him to make his paintings so physical that they were like Braille. And what Matisse did was to make paintings, where things were not quite completed, or things were painted in different ways on the same painting. And he also understood the idea of a window. And what I’ve done is to exploit this potential. The idea of a window is not simply an architectural device, it’s about two realities. By closing the space down, by destroying the space and bringing everything onto the same surface I try to empower the person looking at the painting, to be involved in a way empathetically where they complete the painting themselves.
Sean Scully, interview with Hans-Michael Herzog, ‘The beauty of the real’,
Sean Scully (exhibition catalogue), Milan: Charta, 1996, pp. 55–131 (p. 79).