Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran, 1924-2019) The Magnified Sacred  diameter: 100cm

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Lot 32*
Monir Farmanfarmaian
(Iran, 1924-2019)
The Magnified Sacred diameter: 100cm

Sold for £ 168,812 (US$ 220,460) inc. premium
Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran, 1924-2019)
The Magnified Sacred
mirror and reverse-glass painting on wood
executed in 2004
diameter: 100cm

Footnotes

  • A MAJOR MIRROR-WORK BY MONIR FARMANFARMAIAN FROM THE GEOMETRIC INSTALLATIONS SERIES

    "The harmonious division of a circle is a symbolic way of expressing the Tawhid, the Divine Unity as the source and culmination of all diversity"
    - Monir Farmanfarmaian, Mosaics of Mirrors

    "This nonagon [The Magnified Sacred] represents the nine elements of the body: brain, bones, nerves, veins, blood, flesh, skin, nails and hair"
    - Monir Farmanfarmaian

    "For her 2006 exhibition in Tehran, Monir has conceived installations of large panels in different colours - with [the red nonagon] in a traditional color of passion and fire. The panels symbolize every aspect of the universe and characterize the timeless and infinite quality o Islamic geometric concepts"
    - Rose Issa

    Provenance:
    Property from a distinguished private collection, Lebanon
    Acquire directly by the above from Rose Issa Projects, 2006

    Literature:
    London, Rose Issa Projects, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Mosaics Of Mirror, 2006, illustrated on page 38

    Exhibited:
    Monir Farmanfarmaian, Major Retrospective, Niavaran Cultural Centre, Tehran, 2006
    Monir Farmanfarmaian, Mosaics of Mirror, 2006, Rose Issa Gallery, London


    Radiant, enigmatic and complex, "The Magnified Sacred" is one of the finest, and perhaps most technically intricate examples of Monir Farmanfarmaian's iconic mirror-work to come to market. Exhibited as part of an enormous series of "Geometric Installations" executed between 2003-5 and exhibited at her major retrospective in Niavaran Palace Tehran in 2006, The Magnified Sacred is from one of Farmanfarmaian's most ambitious bodies of work

    Marrying craft, geometry and spiritual symbolism, Monir's composition extracts the centuries old Iranian tradition of mirrored paneling from its architectural setting, elevating it to an art form in its own right. Informed by a deep understanding of numerology and symbolism, Monir's work sheds light on the significance of shapes and signs within the typology of classical Islamic art, in an aesthetic framework that is captivating and intricate. Large in scale, sculptural in presence, and exhibiting an endless array of reflective variations, The Magnified Sacred is one of the most tightly composed and intricate examples of Monir's work.

    The shapes and patterns which Monir' employs in her compositions are clearly and intentionally derived from the geometric and numerological formulae present in Islamic and Iranian architecture. Whilst decoratively complex, the use of geometric patterns and tessellations points to a far deeper conceptual agenda, "the proliferation of arabesque abstract decoration enhances a quality that could only be attributed to God, namely, His irrational infinity," scholar Wijdan Ali observes in The Arab Contribution to Islamic Art (the American University in Cairo Press, 1999). "The pattern of the arabesque, without a beginning or an end, portrays this sense of infinity, and is the best means to describe in art the doctrine of tawhid, or Divine Unity."

    Exhibited and published in her major Monograph, The Magnified Sacred is a sublime example from an artist who has elevated her countries vernacular craft into a universal aesthetic, and in doing so, has become one of the most internationally acclaimed figures to emerge from Iran within the past century.


    Monir Farmanfarmian: A Life

    Born in Qazvin, Iran in 1924, Farmanfarmaian begun her studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Tehran before embarking to New York, where she attended Parson, The New School for Design and Cornell University, and worked as a fashion illustrator. It was in New York that Monir' mixed with the cities emerging cultural avant-garde, collaborating with artists such as Andy Warhol on illustrations for the Bonwit Teller department store.

    It was only after moving back to Tehran that Monir developed her signature style. Influenced by the arts and crafts of her native country, Farmanfarmaian fashioned an artform out of mirror-mosaic work drawing on traditional techniques of reverse-glass painting, inlaid carving, Islamic geometry, and architectural design. To create her reliefs and sculptures, Farmanfarmaian commissioned craftsmen to draft her early designs, then cut mirrors to fit the required shape, which were set in geometrical patterns, and mixed with plaster to produce new compositions into which the artist incorporated colored glass.

    Monir Farmanfarmaian received international acclaim in 1958, when she was presented a gold medal for her work in the Iranian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, this was followed by exhibitions in Tehran, Paris and New York. She has recently become the focus of significant institutional interest, having held important exhibitions worldwide including the Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016); a major career retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2015) and at the Fundação Serralves–Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal (2014).

    She is the subject of a substantial monograph, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Cosmic Geometry, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist; and has authored an autobiography, A Mirror Garden (Knopf, 2007). Farmanfarmaian's work is placed in some of the most important institutions around the world, including: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Tate Modern, London, U.K.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
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Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran, 1924-2019) The Magnified Sacred  diameter: 100cm
Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran, 1924-2019) The Magnified Sacred  diameter: 100cm
Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran, 1924-2019) The Magnified Sacred  diameter: 100cm
Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran, 1924-2019) The Magnified Sacred  diameter: 100cm
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