Ali Banisadr (Iranian, b. 1976)
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Ali Banisadr (Iranian, b. 1976)

Black 3

Ali Banisadr (Iranian, b. 1976)
Black 3
signed and dated 'Ali Banisadr 2009' (on the overlap)
oil on canvas
65¾ x 87 7/8in. (167 x 223cm.)
Painted in 2009
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Paris, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ali Banisadr New Paintings, 2010 (illustrated in colour). Ghent, S.M.A.K & Museum voor Schone Kunsten, HARENG SAUR: Ensor et l'art contemporain, 2010-2011 (illustrated in colour, p. 213).
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Sale room notice
Please note that the present work is inverted left to right in the catalogue illustration.

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Bibi Naz Zavich

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Lot Essay

Christie's is delighted to offer Black 3, an outstanding composition by the sought-after Iranian-American artist Ali Banisadr.
The young Banisadr, born in 1975 in Tehran, moved to the US as a child and carried with him his distraught memories of the Iran-Iraq war and the trauma of the continued bombings during nightly air raids in Tehran which led to his forced displacement. With their fractured and gestural brushstrokes, his dreamlike and apocalyptic compositions echo the chaos of his early life and his nostalgia as they equally reveal the artist's fascination for art and psychology.
His fiercely personal painting style draws from his numerous artistic inspirations and his awareness of the various layers of one's subconscious. The rhythm and spontaneity of his works hint to his practice of graffiti art in California in the early 1990s and his interest in the New York art scene of the time, namely works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring that he discovered as a young adult when he moved to the East coast to pursue his education. On the other hand, the hundreds of intricate miniature figures that swarm across his fantastical landscapes evoke the illuminated manuscripts in Persian and Japanese miniatures, thus defying the apparent abstraction of his paintings.
In Black 3, Ali Banisadr applies splashes of dense emerald hues and depicts scenes devoid of gravity or perspective as the bodies float around the composition, each narrating their own story, as if snapshots of moments and emotions. With calligraphic marks, squiggles and drops of paint, Banisadr impulsively creates a mysterious sense of order within his seemingly tumultuous and expressionist composition and leaves the viewers to extract the imagery from the layered surface of his work. His visceral landscapes are reminiscent of the historical paintings of Heaven and Hell, namely Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights in which countless human figures revel in an innocent joy as they engage in sensory pleasures and primeval activities.
The aesthetic reality of Ali Banisadr's paintings transcends classical notions of genre and narrative. Filled with art historical references, from Islamic art to the contemporary paintings of Cecily Brown, his paintings awake senses of taste, smell and sound and reach a universal state of perfection.
Like a joyful celebration juxtaposed against a war-torn world, Black 3 mirrors Banisadr's personal dichotomies and bespeaks his own story as a young man between two worlds. From one of his most accomplished series of work, Black 3 is undeniably an exceptional painting that cleverly oscillates between human narrative and abstract materiality, between his Eastern heritage and his Western influences.
Ali Banisadr has been widely exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Salzburg, Venice, Baku and Tehran. His works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum and the François Pinault Foundation and in important private collections across borders. He currently lives and works in New York.

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