The Third Line is proud to announce its first time participation at Art Basel Hong Kong. For this occasion The Third Line brings a solo presentation by Iranian nonagenarian Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. In addition to the artist’s iconic mirror pieces, the gallery will show intricate flower drawings.
Monir’s practice incorporates traditional reverse glass painting, mirror mosaics and principles of Islamic geometry. Her works are a collection of detailed motifs, blending aspects of ornamentation used in Iranian architecture and the aesthetics of modern and abstract expressionism—an unconventional mélange of past and present that places the artist in a league of her own.
In Persian culture the mirror is a metaphor for life itself and in Monir’s oeuvre the shapes have also been attributed meaning. The circle is the point of origin, the centre, the symbol of unity and control, the creator and eternal. Named after Monir’s granddaughter, Manzar (2016) takes the shape of a globe that comprises myriad of diamond shaped glass pieces. Oceans in varying shades of blue that create a sense of depth surround fictitious continents. The globe has been an ongoing project for the artist, finally coming to realization last year as one of her final major pieces. Manzar exemplifies the core of Monir’s practice: into old and traditional beauty, she breathes new avant-garde life.
Taken from sketchbooks created by Monir throughout the 1980s, the flower drawings in French pen, China ink, pencil and brush reflect the artist’s connection to nature and her urge to document local flora. Monir’s background in fashion illustration comes through in the meticulous pointillism and delicate organic brushstrokes.
Monir’s distinguished career spans more than five decades. In recent years, focus has expanded to examining her practice as a whole and looking at how the visual and conceptual language has developed over time, 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.