Variations on the Hexagon thumbnail 1
Variations on the Hexagon thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Variations on the Hexagon

Mosaic Panel
2006 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This panel is one of six that made up the installation Variations on the Hexagon. The installation was created in a workshop in Tehran specifically for display at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the opening of the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art in July 2006.

The primary technique employed was mirror mosaic (ayinah-kari), by which pieces of silvered glass are cut to shape and set in a plaster matrix according to a predetermined design. The result is a patterned mirror surface. This technique has been in continuous use in Iran since silvered glass mirrors were first imported in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Since the 1970s, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian has been using this technique to make works based on the Islamic tradition of geometric ornament. Her work is not a pastiche, however, but a creative response to her country's artistic traditions.

The geometric patterns she uses come from outside traditional mirror work, and she combines the mirror with other material, such as reversed-painted glass. In the case of the V&A panel, she has used blue glass beads that are a traditional talisman against the evil eye to create a pattern suggestive of peacock feathers.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleVariations on the Hexagon (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Mosaic of mirror tiles, blue glass tiles and glass amulets
Brief description
'Variations on the Hexagon', mirror mosaic panel with blue glass and glass evil eye amulets, by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Iran, 2006
Physical description
Panel of mirror mosaic (ayinah-kari) with geometric patterns of silvered glass based around a central hexagon. Includes elements of blue glass and traditional glass evil eye amulets.


Dimensions
  • Height: 183cm
  • Width: 129.5cm
  • Weight: 26kg
Gallery label
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian has spent the last 40 years exploring the unlimited possibilities offered by Islamic geometry and mirror mosaic. Mirror mosaic (ayinah-kari) has been a traditional form of architectural decoration in Iran for four centuries, mostly in shrines and palaces. As well as their Sufi symbolism of reflecting the self, mirrors are associated with purity, brightness, symmetry, truth and fortune. Farmanfarmaian is the only contemporary artist to have used mirror mosaic in combination with Islamic geometric patterns, found objects and reverse-glass paintings to create her own startlingly modern artworks. It is this reinterpretation, and the shift from crafts into fine arts, from architectural decoration into a modern aesthetic, that informs most of Farmanfarmaian's art. She was born in Iran in 1924 but left for New York, where she later worked as a graphic and fashion designer. Her distinctive style comes from her strong ties with Iran and her apprenticeship in the United States, which sharpened rather than suppressed her cultural identity. Her recent return to Iran represents her rebirth as an artist. This is the first presentation of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's work in the UK. Rose Issa, guest curator(2006)
Credit line
Given by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Production
This is one panel from 'Variations on the Hexagon', a larger work composed of 6 panels.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This panel is one of six that made up the installation Variations on the Hexagon. The installation was created in a workshop in Tehran specifically for display at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the opening of the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art in July 2006.

The primary technique employed was mirror mosaic (ayinah-kari), by which pieces of silvered glass are cut to shape and set in a plaster matrix according to a predetermined design. The result is a patterned mirror surface. This technique has been in continuous use in Iran since silvered glass mirrors were first imported in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Since the 1970s, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian has been using this technique to make works based on the Islamic tradition of geometric ornament. Her work is not a pastiche, however, but a creative response to her country's artistic traditions.

The geometric patterns she uses come from outside traditional mirror work, and she combines the mirror with other material, such as reversed-painted glass. In the case of the V&A panel, she has used blue glass beads that are a traditional talisman against the evil eye to create a pattern suggestive of peacock feathers.
Collection
Accession number
ME.1-2006

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Record createdNovember 13, 2006
Record URL
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