Artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar working in his studio on large scale paintings

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar in the studio

French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar‘s latest exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery is refreshingly uncontroversial. And that’s the point. Aptly titled Oneness Wholeness, the show is a response to what Behnam-Bakhtiar sees as an unhealthy obsession with materialistic wealth and ego in contemporary society. As such his artwork functions as a kind of cathartic release, taking the form of calming, colourful, mixed-media expanses, that draw inspiration from Persian mythology with curious textures, figures and reflections.

white open plan gallery space with large colourful canvases on the walls

Gallery view of ‘Oneness Wholeness’ at the Saatchi Gallery

large scale mixed media painting of abstract cityscape

Reflection of The Damned 2017, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

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There’s a distinct movement visible in the paintings that not only reveals the artist’s process, but also a kind of gentle fluidity, a lapping almost (not dissimilar to Monet). Whilst the titles are mystical sounding, pointing towards Behnam-Bakhtiar’s musings around existentialism, nature and harmony: Guardians Of Life, The Pursuit Of Light, and Me and Her.

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Two large scale colourful paintings by Sassan Benham-Bakhtiar hanging on gallery wall

But at the same time, these are not works of mere whimsy, look closely and there are shades of darkness, nostalgia, raw emotion.

Millie Walton

‘Oneness Wholeness’ by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and curated by Nina Moaddel runs until 5 June 2018 at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea. For more information on the exhibition visit saatchigallery.com/art/sassanbehnam-bakhtiar.To learn more about the artist visit sassanbehnambakhtiar.com