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Sept. 23 Art Minute: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Aram (Convertible Series)

Global Conversations, Toledo Museum of Art, Exhibition
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (Iranian, 1924-2019), Aram (Convertible Series). Mirror, reverse-glass painting, plaster on wood, 2015. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 2018.15a-f

Composed of hundreds of pieces of cut mirrored glass embedded in plaster, Aram blends the simple lines of modern abstraction with an intricate glass mosaic similar to the dazzling tile decoration of mosques and other public spaces in artist Monir Farmanfarmaian’s native Iran. While the geometric forms draw attention to the formal qualities of line and shape, Monir also plays with the effects of light and reflection that are inherent qualities of glass. Bits of color are added by painting on the reverse-side of the glass with oil-paint. While the overall form of the work is geometric, the individually cut pieces are irregular and organic, integrating the theme of the Persian garden with natural shapes found on flower petals, leaves, and branches.

In her Convertible Series, Monir creates wall-mounted installations that can be rearranged into different configurations. Aram can be reconfigured into 12 different compositions. Aram, which means “quiet” in Farsi (Persian), reveals the artist’s love of gardens and alludes to the space as one meant for personal introspection. The configuration presented here also references the star-shaped fountain often found at the center of these culturally important spaces.

This work is currently on view in the exhibition Global Conversations: Art in Dialogue.