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Sean Shanahan: New Grass

The exhibition “New Grass” by Sean Shanahan in the halls of the Medici Fortress of Arezzo


Sean Shanahan (1960, Dublin) presents the exhibition “New Grass,” curated by Anna Bernardini, with Moira Chiavarini, organized by the Guido d’Arezzo Foundation in collaboration with the Municipality of Arezzo and the cultural association Le Nuove Stanze, Mmode, and BUILDING, with the support of Magonza.

The exhibition features 11 installations that unfold in the scenic spaces of the Medici Fortress, showcasing the latest pictorial research by the Irish artist. His works for this exhibition, like always, are born through an engagement with the space in which they are placed, and the relationship between the artwork and the environment remains crucial and determinant. In these environments, the artist emphasizes austerity and dryness through his research. In fact, in the halls of the fortress, the large painting-sculptures inhabit and interact with the space, playing with fullness and emptiness. These works are where painting, in its exaltation of purity, establishes a constructive and physical dialogue with the location and develops plastically within it. Here, Shanahan’s research seems to almost absorb the space into the artwork.

His painting thus acquires an unprecedented three-dimensionality, exalting the potential encounters between color, light, and space. The architecture of the fortress and its environments, ever-changing throughout the day due to the possibilities offered by natural and artificial light, become an integral part of Shanahan’s work installation. With his works, Shanahan allows us to perceive his research in a new way, to experience it with our own bodies, to consider it as spatial limits and, at the same time, as infinite and new perceptual potential.

As the project’s curator, Anna Bernardini, emphasizes: “Sean Shanahan often uses the word ‘palimpsest’ to describe the correlation that is created between his works and the spaces in which they are displayed. It is significant to remember what he declared in an interview: ‘The word palimpsest removes much rhetoric from the concept of context… Paintings change meaning depending on how they are placed on the wall. One thing next to another changes the sense of both.'”

The journey culminates in the unprecedented sculptural work created specifically for this occasion, “New Grass.” It is a large double-faced work suspended in space—a joyful and powerful chant, the happy possibility of a rhythmic encounter between form, space, and light, while also being the result of a collective research, a rhythmic accompaniment to life. Sean Shanahan’s works often conceal a reference to music, a sonic inspiration—sometimes unconscious (think of Mark Hollis’s voice for “New Grass” from the album Laughing Stock).

The exhibition continues at the headquarters of the cultural association Le Nuove Stanze in Arezzo, at Via Mazzini 12, where Sean Shanahan will exhibit, along with two unique works, the new series of multiples. These multiples are a further and radical declination, sometimes playful, of an ongoing experimentation with the possibilities of painting, which here portray a collected but restless, curious, and ironic movement.

On the occasion of the exhibition, a catalog will be published by Magonza—a high-quality, thread-bound publication printed in offset on premium materials, in dual language (Italian/English)—featuring texts by Anna Bernardini, Moira Chiavarini, Fabio Migliorati, Marta Spanevello, and photographs of the exhibited works by Michele Alberto Sereni.



Medici Fortress:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 11 am – 7 pm

Saturday, Sunday, and holidays: 10 am – 8 pm


Le Nuove Stanze:

Tuesday to Friday: 10 am – 12:30 pm / 2 pm – 5 pm

Saturday and Sunday by appointment (tel. 3496486862)


Regular / € 8.00
Reduced / € 4.00


A combined ticket is also available to visit the Medici Fortress with the exhibition Sean Shanahan: New Grass and the Municipal Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Arezzo with the exhibition Afro: From Meditation on Piero della Francesca to Informal Art:

Regular / € 12.00
Reduced / € 9.00


Francesca Ceccarelli
+39 333 53 17 547




From June 24th to October 22nd, 2023


Fortezza Medicea
Viale Bruno Buozzi