Geometric painting and sculpture in gallery

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian,Something Old Something New1974 © Estate of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (left). Saloua Raouda Choucair,Poem Wall 1963–5 © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation (right)

Room 13 in In the Studio

Infinite Geometry

Landscape of Longing

Saleem Arif Quadri, Landscape of Longing  1997–9

Landscape of Longing refers to Arif Quadri’s interest in spiritual quests and journeys. It evokes a map seen from above. Arif Quadri describes the work as ‘a celebration of life with all its inexplicable mysteries’. He relates the painted forms to the sinuous strokes of Islamic calligraphy. The shapes between and around each form are important to the artist. They suggest figurative elements such as female and male figures, or pods and birds. Arif Quadri is influenced by texts ranging from Sufi writings to work by Dante, the 13th century Italian poet.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Saleem Arif Quadri

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Poem Wall

Saloua Raouda Choucair, Poem Wall  1963–5

From the early 1960s Choucair created sculptures consisting of interlocking pieces. She was inspired by qasida, a modular form of Arabic poetry. Individual stanzas have their own identity, while still contributing to the unity of the whole poem. Choucair thought of her works as ‘sculptural poems’. She explained: ‘I wanted rhythm like the poetic meter, to be at once more independent and interlinked, and to have lines like meanings, but plastic meanings.’ Informed by theories of quantum physics and Islamic theology, her works invite the viewer to imagine alternative compositions. These are suggested by the visible points of intersection between separate sculptural forms.

Gallery label, November 2021

© Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation

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[no title]

Shirazeh Houshiary, [no title]  1992

These images are made from the layering of words inspired by texts by 13th century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. Houshiary has said that the repeated words represent the act of breathing. For her, inhalation and exhalation through the lungs gives a feeling of absence and presence. The prints reveal language as a living organism. The repeated round forms convey a spinning movement, reinforced by the title ‘Round Dance’. For Houshiary, these centrifugal, whirling forces are present in all nature. Round Dance connects culture to nature, and words to biology.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Shirazeh Houshiary

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Something Old Something New

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Something Old Something New  1974

© Estate of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

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Pentagon

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Pentagon  2008

In Pentagon, Farmanfarmaian is inspired by traditional Persian mirror-mosaic work (ayneh-kari) found in architectural spaces, primarily shrines. Symmetry and repetition and the principles of mystical geometry are central to her practice. Her work blurs the lines between craft, art and everyday life set by modern art history. She writes: ‘Mirror works … do not belong only to museums or the rich … they are part of our living artistic experience and they each have an ancient history behind them. But mirrors speak to contemporary human beings as well.’ Iran’s architectural traditions influence Farmanfarmaian’s work. However, her years of living and travelling abroad also bring a global approach to her artistic techniques.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Estate of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

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[no title]

Shirazeh Houshiary, [no title]  1992

These images are made from the layering of words inspired by texts by 13th century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. Houshiary has said that the repeated words represent the act of breathing. For her, inhalation and exhalation through the lungs gives a feeling of absence and presence. The prints reveal language as a living organism. The repeated round forms convey a spinning movement, reinforced by the title ‘Round Dance’. For Houshiary, these centrifugal, whirling forces are present in all nature. Round Dance connects culture to nature, and words to biology.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Shirazeh Houshiary

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Nabil Nahas, Eclypse  1978

Eclypse signals Nahas' interest in abstraction and its relationship to principles of geometric patterning such as infinite repetition and cyclical movement. The artist was inspired by naturally occurring crystalline structures, as well as medieval buildings and textile designs from Cairo, Egypt. He has said "my work is about observing nature in the multiplicity of its dimensions, from microcosm to macrocosm—without forgetting to look at my immediate surroundings." Nahas’ paintings from this period are filled with multi-coloured shapes and arrangements along different planes. They might suggest the intersection of celestial bodies, or the passing of light into shadow.

Gallery label, November 2021

© reserved

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[no title]

Shirazeh Houshiary, [no title]  1992

These images are made from the layering of words inspired by texts by 13th century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. Houshiary has said that the repeated words represent the act of breathing. For her, inhalation and exhalation through the lungs gives a feeling of absence and presence. The prints reveal language as a living organism. The repeated round forms convey a spinning movement, reinforced by the title ‘Round Dance’. For Houshiary, these centrifugal, whirling forces are present in all nature. Round Dance connects culture to nature, and words to biology.

Gallery label, April 2021

© Shirazeh Houshiary

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artworks in Infinite Geometry

Art in this room

Landscape of Longing
Saleem Arif Quadri Landscape of Longing 1997–9
Poem Wall
Saloua Raouda Choucair Poem Wall 1963–5
[no title]
Shirazeh Houshiary [no title] 1992
Something Old Something New
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Something Old Something New 1974
Pentagon
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Pentagon 2008
[no title]
Shirazeh Houshiary [no title] 1992
Eclypse
Nabil Nahas Eclypse 1978
[no title]
Shirazeh Houshiary [no title] 1992

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