Last week saw the private view and opening of French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s latest exhibition. LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai was entranced.
The mesmerising Villa Santo Sospir on Cap Ferrat in the south of France, once home to Jean Cocteau, played host to Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s private view of his Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau exhibition; LUX was privileged to be invited.
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The villa itself is something of an anomaly on Cap Ferrat, perhaps the swankiest real estate spot in Europe. Walk down the steep drive from the little road (just around the corner from the Four Seasons Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat) and you are transported into the 1950s. No bulletproof glass or architect-designed pavilions here: just a low-rise villa, its gardens festooned with bougainvillea and bamboo, and, inside, walls decorated with intricate murals by Cocteau himself.
Guests were scattered through the cosy living room, onto the terrace, down the stairs on another garden terrace, and on a final, lowest level near the sea, but the stars of the show were Behnam-Bakhtiar’s sculptures (which also adorn one of the special covers of this issue of LUX magazine) and a soundtrack which featured Cocteau himself, present among us.
As a storm cleared and the sun set over Cap d’Antibes and the Massif de l’Esterel in the distance, the melancholy and joy of Behnam-Bakhtiar’s creations added an extra note to the end of summer in an area that has inspired artists for generations. Who knows, perhaps its the start of a new life for the Cote d’Azur as an artistic hub, generations after the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Cézanne and Dufy were mesmerised by the light, shapes and people here.
Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau runs until 30 September at Villa Santo Sospir