The Third Line participates in Abu Dhabi Art’s tenth edition with works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian and Rana Begum as part of Focus: Icons curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif. Both highly influenced by geometric abstraction, Monir and Rana’s works create a space in which contemporaneity and Islamic tradition converge and converse.
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s iconic mirror mosaics are presented in a set of five—a triangle, diamond, heptagon, octagon and nonagon. They remind us of the sacred geometry principles that have been at the core of the artist’s practice for the past five decades. Each of the shapes possesses mathematical attributes and consequently, its own meaning. Thus, the heptagon become a symbol of the universe (the seven visible planets, seven days of the week, and the seven colours of the rainbow), while the nonagon represents the nine elements of the body (brain, bones, nerves, veins, blood, flesh, skin, nails and hair).
Similarly, Rana Begum draws inspiration from the abstract clashes of form and colour found in urban environments with the repetitive geometry of Islamic art. Her Folds stem from a series of experimental manipulations of paper that explored the materiality of drawing, which soon became works in their own right. Paper becomes sheets of copper and mild steel as the artist pulls this folded geometry into crisp, brightly-coloured three-dimensional forms that both challenge and expand relationships between colour, form and space.
Complementing these sculptural pieces are works on paper by both artists. Monir’s felt-tip drawings combine the artist’s exploration of geometric forms with her long-standing interest in architecture: the shapes of her vibrant layers hint at the forms of nomadic tents, minarets, and models for architectural sculptures. Meanwhile, No. 829 presents a continuation of Rana’s exploration of form, while introducing a painterly quality through gestural brushstrokes.