Dubai’s Third Line Gallery presents new work by Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Nova section. Farmanfarmaian’s series of mosaics of mirrors succeed, according to the Third Line Gallery, in combining ‘the intricate ornamentation of Iranian architecture with the aesethetic of modern abstract expressionism’ – both of which appropriately reflect this artist’s background. In creating these mosaics, Farmanfarmaian worked closely with Iranian craftsmen whose skill set is traditionally passed from father to son. Individual mirror pieces were carefully constructed and painted then arranged and applied to a wooden backing to create each elaborate geometric shape according to the artist’s design. All of the mosaics in this series fit within the diameter of a 100 cm circle.
Aside from being aesthetically compelling through shape and the brilliant reflection of light, Farmanfarmaian’s works in mosaic contain profound symbolic meaning. In Persian culture, the mirror represents life. Furthermore, the carefully designed geometric shapes reference abstract ideas of creation and existence. The circle is an important symbol that is representative of origin and of eternity; the triangle evokes the concepts of harmony and the human soul. Numerical symbolism derived from Islamic geometry applies further meaning to the shapes.
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian attended the Fine Arts College of Tehran and later the Parsons School of Design (1949). The artist has shown extensively internationally and was included in the exhibition East-West Divan: Contemporary Art from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The artist’s work can be found in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Queensland Art Gallery, Australia – in addition to other important institutions. Farmanfarmaian lives and works in Tehran.
Art Basel Miami Beach continues through 6 December 2009.