With a high artistic sensibility, New York based Ali Banisadr grew up in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) where the violence of the sounds of explosions and sights of suffering left an everlasting mark on the young painter. Forced to leave his raging hometown, after a brief time in Turkey, Banisadr attended art school in New York and graduated with an MFA from the prestigious New York Academy of Art in 2007. Driven by his own emotions and carrying a synesthetic approach, his practice is an amalgamation of the traditions of Persian miniatures, calligraphy, Abstract Expressionism, Street Art and graffiti in a swirl of styles that is ultimately becomes his own.
The Sun/Son is a dynamic semi-abstract composition where whirlwinds of bright and fiery colours are juxtaposed with a quick and frantic, yet thick brushstroke carrying a sense of spontaneity and nervousness. The scattered miniatures and festive splotches represent fleeting moments of what seems to be snapshots of the artist’s heart and mind, while the varying shades resemble confetti or fireworks. A crown can be discerned on the left side of the work with a mysterious green face and royal outfit as an extension of the crown on the throne implying a hint at the tradition of the Shahnama manuscripts which Banisadr reveres. Without a clear thread of ideas in mind and his landscapes, Banisadr’s compositions reflect the artist’s subconscious and utopian state. Interested in the layers and complexity of the human mind, he builds extensive layers in his works that hint to the subconscious. In the midst of abstraction and of this explosive square canvas, figurines with saturated colours float around with faceless silhouettes and evoke this dreamlike state where everything is interwoven, blurry and with random meaning.
Illustrating a compelling fantastical state of perpetual motion, Banisadr claims ‘there is always motion in the work. I don’t like paintings to be still nor have a central point. I want the eyes to keep moving around the work, for there to be time for it to unveil itself.’ (The artist in conversation with Dr Boris Groys, in Ali Banisadr One Hundred and Twenty Five Paintings, London 2015, p. 21).
The artist’s visceral landscapes are reminiscent of the historical fifteenth century painting of Flemish Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights in which countless groupings of human figures revel in an innocent joy as they engage in sensory pleasures and primeval activities. Banisadr's paintings are also influenced not only by Vassily Kandinsky and cinquecento Venetian art of Paolo Veronese and Tintoretto and their supreme colours, but also by obscure sources in contemporary cinema such as Star Wars. His works tend to beautifully and subtly oscillate between human narrative and abstract materiality as one moves forward or retreats from the canvas, as if to imply his own personal oscillation between his Persian heritage and his Western inspirations, captivating and mesmerising those who experience and view his oeuvre. The Sun/Son is a witty play on the playfulness of these figures. Clearly defining both the land and the sky, his use of the pinkish hues intend to lay testament to the whimsy of the circus like scene below. Although hints of figures pop out of the composition, it is important to note that despite his various references, Banisadr is in fact an abstract painter and this painting, which touches on the viewer’s inner psyche, is indeed an abstract composition that intends to test and inspire its viewer.
Ali Banisadr's works have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Salzburg, Venice, Baku, Dubai and Tehran to name a few. His works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg and the François Pinault Foundation and in important private collections, prestigious galleries and cultural institutions across borders.