Modules

Fractal Geometry

  • Towards a contemporary visual grammar.
  • Karl Gerstner’s suggestions. Simple tools, links and correspondence.
  • Tastir in the Alhambra Palace and Islamic art.
  • Kamal Ali and the development of Kandinsky’s basic colour theory.
  • Fractal Geometry. The Penrose Diagram grants us visual access to the transitional world of Fractals through flat geometry. This is a system composed by three polygonal shapes: a regular pentagon that connects to two rhomboids. With these three elements it is possible to fill an entire surface without leaving any blank spaces, following a pattern that can be organised or disorganised, with mathematical laws that can or cannot be formulated.

Calligraphy in Islamic Art

Types and styles of Calligraphy

In Islamic art there are two conventional systems: Tauriq and Tastir: vegetal decoration with curved lines and polygonal geometry. Both systems are referred to in Epigraphy – the study of ancient inscriptions such as the calligraphic expression of recitation, of the Qur’an, poems or traditional literary fragments -. This study unifies what may seem impossible to reconcile, it defines the very concepts behind Islam’s entire artistic production; lines and shapes coexist in one same format and share one same material in such a way that there sometimes appears to be no difference between the beautiful Kufic calligraphy and the masterful lines of Tauriq or Tastir.

Tastir

Shapes and remembrance; Geometry and visual thought

  • Intellectual experience and visual thought; returning to reality through the qualities of dhikr, the geometry of straight lines. Shapes as a way of remembrance.
  • Ideal or paradigmatic forms: The Kaaba.
  • Tastir as an expression of the eternal and the unchangeable.
  • Tauriq and Tastir in the Shahada and in Hispanic-Muslim art. The search for an unattainable core.
  • Connections between Tastir and some conceptualizations of the 20 th century.

Tauriq

Abstract naturalism

We could define Tauriq, or floral arabesque designs as abstract naturalism. One of the most beautiful examples of Tauriq can be found in the relief decoration of the old palatial City of Azahara, built by Abdal-Rahman III al Nasir on the hillsides of Cordoba. On the city’s walls we find one of the few icons that Hispanic-Muslim art represents repeatedly: The Hom, the Syriac tree of life, is repeated structurally in the caliphate’s Tauriq designs and is the best visual expression of the Islamic concept of creation.

The Islamic attitude towards Visual Arts

Idolatry and iconoclasm; Structural Duality and Hispanic-Muslim Art

The reason behind Islamic art’s abstract nature lies in how Muslims, or Unitarians, perceive reality. There is a clear awareness in Islam that any representation done via imagery is deceptive and creates misconceptions, that it does not aid man in his comprehension of reality. However, there are no specific prohibitions regarding naturalism in art as a general concept. We must therefore understand this abstract nature of Islamic art as a coherent consequence of an attitude rather than the result of a prohibition.