The Third Line opens its new gallery space in Alserkal Avenue, with the inaugural exhibition focusing on a solo presentation by Iranian nonagenarian Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. The exhibition will reflect upon the different facets and materials of her geometric practice and will feature a range of drawings, carpets, and mirror works, showing the depth of her conceptual consideration throughout her career and medium. While many of the drawings and mirror works are new and only produced in the last few years, the presentation also includes drawings and carpets that were made in the early 90s, all of which have never been shown before.
The artist’s distinguished career spans more than five decades. In recent years, focus has expanded to examining Monir’s practice as a whole and looking at how the visual and conceptual language has developed over the decades, with most recently the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York presenting the artist’s first comprehensive exhibition in the United States in March of 2015.
Monir’s most well known work incorporates traditional reverse glass painting, mirror mosaics and principles of Islamic Geometry with a contemporary sensibility. Through wall-based panels, she presents both a detailed craft and contemporary abstraction that employs an interaction of surface texture, light and reflection, and colour and form. This characteristic mirror mosaic in Monir’s work is an Iranian decorative form known as aineh-kari, a technique that dates back to the sixteenth century.
Monir carries the same principles into her works on paper and textile. All of the drawings presented will be making their debut, including earlier works from the 1990s that were produced while Monir was in exile in New York, following the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Examples of the earlier works from the 90s are more freehand and whimsical in nature, many of which became prototypes for carpets that were made by hand in Tabriz and Bijar, Iran. Those wool and naturally dyed silk carpets present a unique insight into Monir’s experiments in material that have not been showcased before. In contrast, the more recent felt tip marker and pen drawings on paper are in tightly calculated geometrical compositions, with a multitude of roulette curves – a direction that has also evolved in her mirror works.