Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: A Mirrored Garden

  • Haines Gallery is proud to present Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: A Mirrored Garden, an online viewing room dedicated to the work of the celebrated Iranian artist. Monir spent over half a century creating stunning mirrored mosaics, sculptures, and works on paper that recall both the sacred geometry of Persian art and the reductive abstraction of the 20th century. Her artistic evolution was shaped at once by geopolitical events, ancient Persian traditions, and the New York art scene of the 1950s. The arc of Monir's creative development is one of the great stories of contemporary art.
     
    This diverse offering highlights a practice shaped by ceaseless curiosity and inventiveness, reflected in the many forms and materials that Monir masterfully employed throughout her long career. She was, in the words of curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, "a role model for the artist of the twenty-first century."
     
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Heptagon Rainbow, 2018 51 x 27.5 x 1 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Heptagon Rainbow, 2018
      51 x 27.5 x 1 inches
      $325,000
  • “My sources of artistic inspiration are many. I grew up in the city of Qazvin before World War II. Walking in the bazaar, being in the presence of all the beauty created by the dexterous hands of artisans; going to the houses of the nobility, immersed in works commissioned by rich, with that lapidary attention to the geometry of objects and the composition of colors; visiting religious monuments, mosques and tombs of saints, with that overabundance of light, color, and refracted images, all of these became the foundations of my aesthetic vision, although, I still didn’t know how they would affect my life.”
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Untitled, 2008 47 x 20 x 1.75 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Untitled, 2008
      47 x 20 x 1.75 inches
      $275,000
  • Monir first arrived in New York in 1945, as an art student and later as a fashion illustrator for the...

    Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

    Mirror Ball, 2012

    9 x 9 x 9 inches

    Sold

    Monir first arrived in New York in 1945, as an art student and later as a fashion illustrator for the department store Bonwit Teller. It was here that she absorbed the development of geometric abstraction and found a welcoming community of artists, including Frank Stella, Joan Mitchell, Louise Nevelson, and Andy Warhol. The latter was gifted one of Monir's playful Mirror Ball sculptures, which famously sat on his desk until his death in 1987.
     
    These experiences, combined with her deep knowledge of the arts and crafts of her native Iran, resulted in a singular aesthetic fusion of Persian pictorial language and pristine geometry unlike any other.
  • Monir was living in Iran when she first began creating her mirrored works, following a visit to the Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz in the 1970s. She spoke of a desire to "create works that were inspired by the surrounding environment while retaining their contemporariness," and studied the anceint Persian arts of reverse-glass painting, of mirror mosaics (aineh-kari) that have been used as interior ornament in Iran for centuries, working with master craftsmen to execute her vision. The geometrically derived compositions of her works are informed by the symbolic numerology of Sufi mathematicians, whose geometry inflect Persian art and culture and have so inspired Monir.
  • In its origins, the word 'geometry' literally means 'to measure the earth.' But for Sufi theologians and Monir, the task...

    Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

    Variation of Hexagon, 2013

    13 x 14.5 inches

    In its origins, the word "geometry" literally means "to measure the earth." But for Sufi theologians and Monir, the task was less to measure the earth than to identify, within the earthly realm, manifestations of a divine natural order. Of particular importance to Monir was the hexagon, and this six-sided form is the foundational building block of much of her work. "For me," the artist has said, "everything starts with the hexagon. In the hexagon, there are so many different lines, and so many different shapes, and so many different colors, and it has a lot of variation in every form of geometry."
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Untitled, c. 1982 24.5 x 18.5 x 2 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Untitled, c. 1982
      24.5 x 18.5 x 2 inches
      $225,000
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Untitled, 2015 27.5 x 39.5 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Untitled, 2015
      27.5 x 39.5 inches
      $36,000
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Untitled, 1977 Paper: 17.5 x 25 inches Frame: 30 x 38 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Untitled, 1977
      Paper: 17.5 x 25 inches
      Frame: 30 x 38 inches
      $75,000
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Untitled (Square), 2011 28 x 31.5 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Untitled (Square), 2011
      28 x 31.5 inches
      $275,000
  • "All my inspiration has come from Iran – it has always been my first love. When I travelled the deserts and the mountains, throughout my younger years, all that I saw and felt is now reflected in my art."
  • Evident throughout Monir's works, is her deep love of Iran and its culture. Since the 1950s, the artist was an...
    Evident throughout Monir's works, is her deep love of Iran and its culture. Since the 1950s, the artist was an ardent student and collector of the crafts and traditions of her home, from coffee house paintings to Turkoman jewelry and textiles.
     
    Gabbeh (2009), a composition of colorful polygons, arcs and diagonals against a background of mirror and plaster triangles formed by overlapping hexagons, is named after a type of Persian rug. In Monir's Kashi series, the final works created before her death in 2019, mirrored glass mosaics — in the form of intersecting triangles, squares, or pentagons — are framed by colorful shards of lustrous ceramic embedded in snowy white plaster. The ceramic pieces are contemporary examples of lustreware — a type of pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze that gives the effect of iridescence, produced in Iran since the 12th century — created by Persian ceramist Abbas Akbari.
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Gabbeh, 2009 37 x 59.5 x 2 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Gabbeh, 2009
      37 x 59.5 x 2 inches
      $375,000
  • 'Revealing the plaster opened a whole new vista of possibilities. The snowy matte surfaces made a beautiful contrast with the...
    "Revealing the plaster opened a whole new vista of possibilities. The snowy matte surfaces made a beautiful contrast with the glistening mirror, like earth and water distilled into two different faces of purity, the colors of painted-glass accents gleamed with startling clarity against the white."
    • Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Kashi, 2019 39.5 x 39.5 inches
      Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
      Kashi, 2019
      39.5 x 39.5 inches
      $400,000
  • "The mirror reflects the sky, the water, and every color.

    It is a symbol of light and life, and when you stand in front of my mirror work and see the reflections,

    you are part of the work itself."

  • MONIR SHAHROUDY FARMANFARMAIAN, Iranian, 1923 - 2019

    Photo: Curtis Hamilton

    MONIR SHAHROUDY FARMANFARMAIAN

    Iranian, 1923 - 2019
    Monir first received significant attention in 1958, when she was awarded a gold medal for her work in the Iranian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, leading to exhibitions in Tehran, Paris, and New York. More recently, her artwork has been the subject of two traveling career retrospectives: Infinite Possibility. Mirror Works and Drawings 1974–2014 at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015) and The Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2014); and Sunset, Sunrise at the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2019) and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2018).
     
    Monir's works have additionally been exhibited at major institutions worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Centre Pompidou, Paris (upcoming, 2021); Grand Rapids Art Museum, MI (2020, 2018); Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA (2017); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016); Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, UAE (2014); Prospect 3, New Orleans, LA (2014); Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE (2013); WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium (2013); Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2010); the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland, Australia (2010); and the 29th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2009). She is the subject of a substantial monograph, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Cosmic Geometry, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist; the co-author of an autobiography, A Mirror Garden (Knopf, 2007); and the focus of an eponymous documentary film. Monir’s work has been collected by institutions around the world, including: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY and Abu Dhabi, UAE; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; and Tate Modern, London, U.K. In December 2017, the Monir Museum, the first museum in Iran dedicated to a single female artist, opened in Tehran. Throughout her life, Monir was known in international art circles as a visionary, charismatic, and uncompromising artist.