Iranian, b. 1924
Lives and works in Tehran, Iran
Monir Farmanfarmaian has spent the last half-century articulating her singular vision through mirrored mosaics, reverse-glass painting, and works on paper that recall both Qajar-era Persian interior decoration and the reductive abstraction of the 20th century. Her artistic evolution has been shaped at once by cataclysmic geopolitical upheavals, ancient Persian traditions, and the New York art scene of the 1950s. The arc of Farmanfarmaian’s creative development is one of the great stories of contemporary art.
The works in Monir’s Convertible series are jewel-like, multipart, sculptural reliefs comprised of interlocking geometric elements that can be arranged in a variety of configurations, each designed by the artist. With their extraordinarily intricate mirrored mosaic surfaces and bursts of colorful reverse-glass painting, these pieces offer a surprisingly diverse array of kaleidoscopic possibilities for viewing.
Monir Farmanfarmaian 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 exhibited at major institutions and exhibitions worldwide including a traveling career retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2015) and at the Fundação Serralves–Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal (2014); as well as the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (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 a recently completed documentary film. Farmanfarmaian’s work has been collected by institutions around the world, including: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; 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. Committed to the exhibition, preservation, and study of the work of Farmanfarmaian, the Monir Museum will be home to over fifty pieces from the artist’s personal collection.