Bahman Kiarostami makes doc on Iran’s modern art pioneer Monir Farmanfarmaian

April 13, 2022 - 18:30

TEHRAN – Bahman Kiarostami has completed his latest documentary on Iran’s modern art pioneer Monir Farmanfarmaian who was famous for her mirror mosaics and geometric drawings.

The documentary entitled “Monir” is scheduled to premiere on April 24 at Art Tomorrow, a major art education center in Tehran, to commemorate the third anniversary of the death of the artist.

In a press release published by the center, Kiarostami said it took him a year and a half to make the documentary.

Due to the anxiety Farmanfarmaian felt in front of the camera, Kiarostami recorded her voice for parts of the documentary.

The film begins with her hesitation to appear in front of Kiarostami’s camera, asking him to be a voice for her to promote the ancient mirror mosaic art among modern artists.  

Farmanfarmaian died on April 20, 2019, at the age of 97. 

She was born in Qazvin and moved to Tehran at eight when her father was selected to serve as an MP. She studied painting at the University of Tehran and then moved to Paris to learn about avant-garde arts. 

Meeting painter and poet Manuchehr Yektai, who then married Farmanfarmaian, was the turning point in her life. She traveled to New York City to study fashion design at the Parsons School of Design and Cornell University.

She worked as a fashion designer for several magazines, including Glamour, and a number of shops during the 1950s when she met Andy Warhol, a leading pop art figure, who presented her with a silkscreen from his Marilyn Monroe series.   
  
Farmanfarmaian split up with Yektai and married Abolbashar Farmanfarmaian, a law student at Columbia University. She selected his surname as her own pseudonym.

After her second marriage, she made numerous trips to her homeland where she became familiar with a number of traditional Iranian arts, including teahouse painting. In addition, she attended several major art events in Iran with her abstract paintings, one of which was also showcased at the Venice Biennale.

In the early 1960s, she attained her special style in mirror mosaics and geometric drawings, which were presented at the world’s major auction houses such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

The Negarestan Garden Museum of the University of Tehran opened a new section in December 2017 to put 51 artworks by Farmanfarmaian on display in a permanent exhibition.

Photo: A poster for the premiere of Bahman Kiarostami’s documentary “Monir” about Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian.

MMS/YAW

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