Monir Farmanfarmaian continues to dazzle as she explores kinetic art

The art has been shown in various city over the world. (Image supplied)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Monir Farmanfarmaian continues to dazzle as she explores kinetic art

  • Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian is 94 and has displayed her art all over the world
  • Farmanfarmaian’s latest exhibition features mixed-media installations

DUBAI: At 94 years old, Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian would surely be forgiven for resting on her considerable laurels. Her work, after all, is featured in several of the world’s leading museums, including Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Guggenheim in New York, and London’s Tate Modern. She even has a museum all of her own in Tehran.
As her latest solo exhibition proves, however, Farmanfarmaian isn’t even close to slowing down yet. “The Breeze at Dawn Has Secrets to Tell You,” which opened at Dubai’s Third Line Gallery late September and runs until November 3, features mixed-media installations created by the artist this year (including new iterations of her famed Mirror Ball works from the Seventies, originally inspired, apparently, by children playing football in the streets.

The exhibition continues Farmanfarmaian’s exploration of math, Islamic cosmology, and Sufi mysticism (the title comes from a Rumi poem) but also introduces an entirely new practice for the artist, as she experiments with kinetic art for the first time. Her familiar geometric mirror mosaics are, the gallery explains in a statement, “framed by curtains of reverse-painted plexiglass strands that one imagines could oscillate in the wind.” Several of those works also feature suspended pendants, further mirroring the shapes from which they hang.

“Each of the shapes possesses mathematical attributes and, consequently, its own meaning. Thus, the triangle becomes a symbol of harmony representing the sould and the three forms of action: mental, physical and verbal, while the square is synonymous with stability, the four cardinal points, and the four seasons,” the statement says.
Back in the 1950s, Farmanfarmaian worked alongside some of modern art’s most-famous names, including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Jackson Pollock. “The Breeze at Dawn Has Secrets to Tell You” shows that —  over half a century later — Farmanfarmaian still, remarkably, retains the kind of energy and playfulness that helped drive her then-contemporaries, while her mastery of technique has continued to flourish.

 


Performance artist Marina Abramovic returns to native Belgrade for retrospective

Updated 21 September 2019

Performance artist Marina Abramovic returns to native Belgrade for retrospective

  • ‘You know for me it’s very emotional to be here, and it’s not easy, there’s lots of nostalgia, lots of memories that are forgotten’
  • Doling out advice for youth, the artist said: ‘It is very important to follow your heart, your ideas, without compromising’

BELGRADE: The boundary-pushing performance artist Marina Abramovic returned to Belgrade Saturday to inaugurate the final exhibition of a major touring retrospective, marking her first professional homecoming in nearly 50 years.
Dressed in black, the 72-year-old invited reporters to Belgrade’s Contemporary Art Museum at dawn for the “symbolic cleansing of her career.”
The retrospective, titled “The Cleaner,” exhibits more than 100 works from Abramovic’s past 50 years of provocative performances, many of which saw the artist put her own body on the line.
“You know for me it’s very emotional to be here, and it’s not easy, there’s lots of nostalgia, lots of memories that are forgotten,” she said of her return to the Serbian capital, a place she said shaped her outlook as an artist.
“I learned three things here: from my grandmother I learned spirituality … from my father I learned bravery, and from my mother willpower and discipline,” she said.
The exhibition, which has been touring Europe since 2017, features photo montages and video reels replaying many of Abramovic’s most daring works, including one where she laid out a table of 72 objects, among which figured scissors and a loaded gun, and invited spectators to use them on her “as desired.”
Another piece from 1997, titled Balkan Baroque, saw her sit and clean 1,000 beef bones while singing folk songs from her youth, earning her a Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale.
Young Serbian artists also re-enacted some performances live on Saturday, including one in which a naked man and woman stand inside a doorway, forcing museum-goers to squeeze past their bodies.
Doling out advice for youth, the artist said: “It is very important to follow your heart, your ideas, without compromising.”
“To live for your art, which requires a lot of sacrifice,” she added.
At the start of the exhibition, Abramovic briefly sat down to re-enact a 2010 performance in New York named “The Artist is Present.”
That three-month-long piece saw her sit silently, without moving, for seven hours a day, six days a week, as visitors took turns sitting across her.
Asked if she would use her fame to bring more support to Serbian artists, Abramovic said:
“I am not a politician, but an artist, and I believe that this exhibit will show politicians that investing in culture will bring it to higher levels.”
The exhibit will be open in Belgrade until January 20, 2020.