Saloua Raouda Choucair, Composition in Blue Module, 1947–51, Tate © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation


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Rethinking Geometric Abstraction

Nadia Radwan

Infinite Geometry, Tate


Nadia Radwan explores how mathematical and mystical principles inspired the geometrical abstract work of three artists: Rasheed Araeen, Saloua Raouda Choucair and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian.

When speaking about abstraction in art, the tendency is to think of a stylistic approach that flourished in Western art during the second half of the 20th century. Yet, geometric abstraction has been present in art, architecture and design in other parts of the world for thousands of years. The mathematic and artistic exploration of abstract geometric forms has spanned centuries from early modern artists and artisans working in the non-Western world up to conceptual artists in the 1960s and beyond. This interconnectedness of abstract forms can be seen in the works of contemporary artists coming from the Middle East or South Asia who engage with Western modernism whilst finding inspiration in the geometric principles of Islamic arts.