Abstract vibrant painting by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar.

‘Love Ritual’, 2018/19. Oil on canvas. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar.

This year’s edition of artmonte-carlo brings international galleries to the Côte d’Azur. We speak to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat resident and artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar about the fair and the rising interest in contemporary Iranian art

artmonte-carlo returns to the French Riviera for its fourth-edition with a select list of prominent international galleries, including Kamel Mennour, White Cube and Victoria Miro to name but a few. This will be artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar‘s first time participating in the fair at Dusseldorf-based gallery Setareh’s booth, alongside contemporary Iranian artist Reza Derakshani. The booth will also feature works by Gregor Gleiwitz, Hans Hartung, Imi Knoebel, Markus Lupertz amongst others.

Based in Dusseldorf with three locations, Setareh Gallery presents a global selection of contemporary and modern art. Established in 2013, the gallery is anchored in the Rhineland whilst operating internationally.

Known for his vibrant, abstract mixed-media paintings, which draw on ancient Persian motifs, patterns and landscapes, Behnam-Bakhtiar celebrates a complex cultural identity and not only invites new perspectives on the region, but also explores themes of a prosperous way of life, human evolution, the universal language, eternal feelings and Self, history, present and future. His work awakens a strong sense of experiencing positive emotions and transcendence, while accessing its audience’s psyche to bring about locked knowledge, intuition and human sensitivity.

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‘It is not a surprise that Iranian art holds its own league due to the vastness and richness of the Iranian culture and heritage,’ says Bakhtiar. ‘Even though the contemporary Iranian art scene has faced many challenges throughout the last few decades due to the political climate on Iran – unfortunately affecting its artists, gallerists and art institutions – Iranian artists due to the quality of their work and their profiles internationally have managed to perform in an outstanding manner, being represented by leading galleries internationally, holding important museum and gallery exhibitions.’

Abstract painting by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

‘Mini Lovers’, 2017. Oil on canvas. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

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Behnam-Bakhtiar’s own work has been steadily gaining an international presence since his emergence on the art scene back in 2009. A recent sale Christie’s sale in Dubai, U.A.E, Dubai, U.A.E, saw his painting ‘Eternal Spring, 100 x 73 cm’ surpass its estimate of USD 6,000 to 8,000 to sell for USD 12,500, whilst ‘Hunting the Dawn, 199 x 224 cm’ by Reza Derakshani sold for USD 112,500, both nearly doubling their estimates.

Bright pink abstract painting by artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

‘Psychedelic Wholeness’, 2017/2018. Oil on canvas. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

Abstract colourful painting of flowers

‘Flower Garden’. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar.

Bakhtiar will be unveiling a new collection of works at the fair and is looking forward to exhibiting in a country that he feels a deep connection to. ‘As a somewhat local artist living and working in the neighbouring Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat while having roots in the principality from a very young age, it is nice to be representing the arts of the region in a fair of this calibre,’ he says.

artmonte-carlo runs from 25 to 28 April 2019. For more information visit: artmontecarlo.ch

To view more artwork by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar visit sassanbehnambakhtiar.com or follow the artist on Instagram @sassanbehnambakhtiar