IMMA is delighted to present Sunset, Sunrise, a retrospective exhibition of works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. With a career spanning more than six decades, Farmanfarmaian is one of the most prominent contemporary Iranian artists working today.
“The Irish and the Iranians share a love of poetry in their cultures. My poetry is in my art, and I am honoured to share it in this IMMA exhibition” Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Farmanfarmaian was born in Qazvin, Iran in 1924. Between 1945 and 1957, she spent her formative years amidst the New York art scene, a time marked by friendships with fellow artists such as Frank Stella and Andy Warhol, before returning to Iran. Exiled following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Farmanfarmaian returned once again to her native Iran and has been firmly re-established there since 2004. Farmanfarmaian is considered to be one of the most important Iranian artists working today.
Sunset, Sunrise reflects a life lived between two cultures, across histories of East and West. It investigates the abundance and mystery of nature, the universe and our place within it. More than seventy artworks are on display ranging from painting, sculpture, jewellery and tapestry to collages and works on paper. There are previously unseen drawings such as Untitled 4 (2017) and Untitled (2012) together with her signature mirrored pieces. Often kaleidoscopic with rich geometric and architectural forms, these works encapsulate Farmanfarmaian’s ability to merge traditional Persian techniques with contemporary Western abstraction.

The title, Sunset, Sunrise invokes the sky that both separates and connects the East and West; a moment of dawn and dusk that captures the elusive, emotive quality of life. Two key pieces, Sunset (2015) and Sunrise (2015), mark the beginning and close of the exhibition, and this poetic reflection between nature and the human heart is at play throughout Farmanfarmaian’s practice.

As one of the great female artistic pioneers, Farmanfarmaian can be set alongside 20th century innovators such as Etel Adnan, Carol Rama and Hilma af Klint, all of whom have been rediscovered for their vital contributions to the development of contemporary art, and been represented within exhibitions at IMMA in recent years.

This is the first time Farmanfarmaian’s work has been shown in Ireland. Sunset, Sunrise is organised by IMMA, in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates. The exhibition travels to Sharjah Art Foundation in 2019.