BORN IN TEHRAN, IRAN, 1976
CURRENTLY LIVES AND WORKS IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Ali Banisadr’s densely populated paintings are influenced by the artist’s perception of sound as inextricably linked to color and form. Drawing on childhood experiences of the Iran-Iraq war in his native Tehran (where explosions and other aural disturbances were commonplace) as well as his extant synesthesia, Banisadr works painstakingly and intuitively to build complex compositions that exude a vitality at once turbulent and celebratory.
Banisadr draws freely from an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of painting to create a distinctive visual language. Whilst his gestural brushstrokes recall the unbridled energy of de Kooning’s Abstract Expressionism, the work’s intensity of mood and dreamlike detail evokes mid-20th-century surrealism in the vein of Francis Bacon. Much like Old Masters Bruegel and Bosch, whom Banisadr cites as influences, the artist’s work conceives of a concurrent, existentially absurd flurry of activity as seen from above. As the lower portions of the picture planes brim with carnivalesque energy, the upper halves achieve balance in their calming sense of distance, functioning like the flattened, scenic backdrop of a theatre stage. Banisadr’s oscillating use of cool and warm tones works to denote either landscape or flesh, though the abstracted forms, fading in and out of focus like figures from a dream, resist total comprehension.
Ali Banisadr lives and works in New York City. Banisadr is the subject of the exhibition, Bosch & Banisadr, Ali Banisadr: We Work in Shadows at Gemäldegalerie, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and he was recently the subject of solo and two-person museum exhibitions at Het Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch, Netherlands and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, FL. In 2013, his work was included in "Love Me/Love Me Not, Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan and its Neighbors," The 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale, and “Expanded Painting," Prague Biennale 6. Banisadr’s work is included in significant public collections worldwide, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the British Museum, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Museum der Moderne, Salzburg.
Image: Ali Banisadr, Sigil, 2019, oil on linen, 66 1/8 x 88 1/8 inches, 167.8 x 223.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist. Photography by Jeffrey Sturges.