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Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Sunset, Sunrise

10 August - 25 November 2018“Book Now
Main Galleries, West Wing
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Hexagon (Fourth Family), 2013, Mirror and reverse glass painting on plaster and wood, 120 cm diameter. Collection of the artist. Courtesy the artist and The Third Line, Dubai.
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.
A major publication accompanies this exhibition, featuring contributions from Rahel Aima, Hoor Al Qasimi, Tina Kinsella, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Rachel Thomas, Murtaza Vali, together with poetry by Michael Davitt, Rumi and Sohrab Sepehri. The catalogue is co-published by IMMA and Sharjah Art Foundation. Available to purchase from the IMMA Shop.

A new Limited Edition print of the work of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, titled Sunrise, 2018, has been created on the occasion of this exhibition and will be available to purchase at the IMMA Shop. This 2018 Edition is created from the original work Sunrise, 2015. Edition of 100. Members can avail of a 20% discount on Editions, a 10% discount on other shop items, and free entry to the exhibition for themselves and a guest. Join today


“Book NowTuesday: Free
Wednesday - Sunday: €8 / 5

Always free for IMMA Members, full-time students and under 18’s.

Special Offer: 2for1 tickets are available when visiting this exhibition, and IMMA Collection: Freud Project, Gaze on the same day.  Discount will automatically be given in your shopping cart when you book your tickets online in advance.

About the Artist

Born in Qazvin, Iran in 1924, Farmanfarmaian’s distinguished career has spanned more than six decades. The artist attended the Fine Arts College of Tehran before becoming one of the first Iranian students to study in the United States after World War II. She graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1949 and then became a Member of the New York Art Students' League (1950-53). Engulfed in the epicenter of the modern art world, it was here that she worked alongside many iconic contemporary American artists including Jackson Pollock, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson and Andy Warhol, all who had an influence on her work.

Farmanfarmaian has exhibited extensively in international institutions in Iran, North America and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions include a traveling retrospective, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibilities at the Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2014), and to Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, 2015; Lineages, Savannah College of Art and Design Museum (2017); Monir Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Geometry, The Third Line, Dubai (2016); Jef Geys/Monir Farmanfarmaian, WIELS, Brussels (2013); Convertibles and Polygons, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA (2012); Geometry of Hope, Leighton House Museum, London, UK (2008); Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Mirror Mosaics, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK (2007). Her work has been included in several prominent group exhibitions including DECOR, Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Sharjah Biennial 11 (2015); Seeing Through Light, The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection Opening exhibition, Manarat al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2015); Iran Modern at Asia Art Society, New York, USA (2013); Trade Routes, Hauser & Wirth, London, UK (2013); Contemporary Iranian Art from the Permanent Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2012); The Future of Tradition, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2010). She also participated in the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery, Australia, and at Liquid City, the 2nd Brugge Triennial in Brugge, Belgium (2018).

She has participated in four editions of the Venice Biennale, where she was awarded the Gold Medal in 1958, 1964 and 1966. She also participated in the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery, Australia, and at Liquid City, the 2nd Brugge Triennial in Brugge, Belgium (2018). Monir’s work is housed in several major public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Jameel Collection, London; The Queensland Art Gallery, Australia; The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran; Swisscorp Bank,Geneva, Switzerland; The Sharjah Art Foundation; and the School of Law at Columbia University, America. Monir lives and works in Tehran.

Associated Events

Talk & Preview / Aziz Isham
Thursday 9 August 2018 / 6.30pm / Lecture Room / Booking advised

In conjunction with the exhibition preview, Aziz Isham, producer, journalist and activist, presents an introduction to the rich cultural and artistic diversity of Farmanfarmaian’s practice over a period of 40 years. Isham’s lecture provides a personal perspective on some of the most defining movements that have shaped and influenced his grandmother’s life and work. This talk is followed by a reception, exhibition preview and formal launch with Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator, critic and Co-Director, Serpentine Galleries, London. Listen Back

Curators Lunchtime Talk Series / Drop In
Friday 21 September 2018 / 1.15-2pm / Meeting Point - IMMA Main Reception

Rachael Gilbourne, Assistant Curator, Exhibitions, presents an insightful walk-through of the exhibition Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Sunset, Sunrise. Exhibition fee applies. Listen Back.

Culture Night at IMMA
Friday 21 September 2018 / 5 - 8pm

This Culture Night explore the work of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. Join Assistant Curator Rachael Gilbourne on a guided tour that will explore Farmanfarmaian’s work ranging from her jewel like mirror sculptures and reverse glass paintings; to her drawings and collages. No booking required, meet at the main reception at 6.30pm.

Sunset Yoga / Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmanian
Thursday 27 September 2018 / 6:30 - 8:30pm / €6 - BOOKED OUT

In the work of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, body, nature, poetry, architecture and geometry are interwoven. While the artist rejects the idea of spiritual meaning in her work, commenting - “it is just the hexagon and line, there is no philosophy behind it”, it is a reading that viewers, and critics, return to again and again. Join us to explore this idea for yourself with a guided tour of the exhibition, followed by a yoga class in the unique environment of the museum, that will explore the question of symbolism in Farmanfarmaian’s art through embodied experience. Further details

Artist Response / Roxana Manouchehri
Friday 5 October 2018 / 1pm - 1.45pm / Main Galleries, West Wing

Artist Roxana Manouchehri reflects on the craft, skills and artistic traditions of her native country Iran to discuss the exhibition Sunset, Sunrise. Taking the form of an exhibition walk-through, Manouchehri draws on her own experiences, practice and interests in which to explore the merging of traditional Persian techniques with contemporary abstraction that Farmanfarmaian not only pioneered but continues to influence a subsequent generation of Iranian artists.

Critical Response & Lecture / Vali Mahlouji / Sunset, Sunrise - Mapping Farmanfarmaian’s Significance
Wednesday 14 November 2018 / 6.30pm / Lecture Room
Examining the relationship between revolutions and repression of art and artists, London-based curator Vali Mahlouji traces the socio-political situations that led to the Iranian Revolution and Islamic Revolution that saw artists of Farmanfarmaian’s generation seek political exile elsewhere. As a vital context to access Farmanfarmaian’s legacy and artistic meaning in Iran today - Mahlouji explores issues of exile / return and displacement across interconnected global realities, ranging from the aesthetic, to the geographic, anthropological, ethnographic and spiritual as essential frameworks to open intercultural dialogue and recognition of the other in art history. Book Now

For full programme details and tickets visit the IMMA website All talks are free but ticketed unless otherwise stated.

 Join the IMMA Talks Mailing List to have event notifications and announcements sent to your email.

Exhibition Resources

Read the exhibition guide.

Watch the introduction video.

Watch Tim Marlow, art historian and Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts London, preview Farmanfarmaian's exhibition in the Must-See August Museum Shows around the world compiled for Sotheby's.

Read Aidan Dunne's four star review in the Irish Times Patterns of light and colour that bear endless repeating.

Read the Media Press Release.

Resources and additional materials for this exhibition will be posted here when available.

Exhibition supporters:

Sunset, Sunrise is organised by IMMA, in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates.

Supported by





Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
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