Khayyam Fountain (2018)

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Khayyam Fountain
Glass; 200 x 160 cm
Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.


Over nearly six decades, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian fashioned luminous abstract sculptures and drawings out of glass, mosaic, paper and fabric. Fusing her interests in geometry, Sufism and Islamic architecture, the artist’s primary experiments were with pattern, colour and repetition. The result is a kaleidoscopic body of abstract works that brings together her interest in minimalism and the craftsmanship of sixteenth century glass and mosaic sculpting in Iran.

In one of her most ambitious realised projects, Khayyam Fountain, the artist draws inspiration from the polymath Omar Khayyam, known for his work on cubic equations, his influence on the development of the Persian calendar as well as his poetry, widely translated into English as the Rubájyát. For this homage, Farmanfarmaian interleaves multi-sided shapes—triangles, pentagons and hexagons—to form a tower that rotates precipitously above a hollow base, creating varied refractions of light at different times of the day. The form of the fountain evokes the metaphor of water as a constant fount of life.

The last major installation to be completed by the artist, Khayyam Fountain was commissioned by Bruges Triennial 2018: Liquid City, Belgium.

Khayyam Fountain is on long-term loan to Sharjah Art Foundation and finds its initial home in Hamriyah Studios where Farmanfarmaian’s final retrospective was presented by the Foundation in 2019.

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