This week saw the London opening of Oneness Wholeness, a much-awaited solo show by the young French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea.
Amid the glitzy crowd at the private view, which seemed equally split between young and old, Persians, Brits, and citizens of the world, LUX took the time to view the works themselves – not always easy in a packed gallery.
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Prior to the opening the international art media made much of the show challenging Western views of Iran. For LUX, it did much more than that, blending ancient Persian mystic influences, the romanticism of some of the country’s literary giants of the 10th to 14th centuries, and a view of eternity and our place as microcosms in a multi-universed existence. The fleeting images – silhouettes of heads or horses – in his mixed media creations and an overwhelming sense of stillness and light (influenced no doubt by Behnam-Bakhtiar’s current home in the south of France) only hint at the complexity of Persian history and the empire’s reach – and much more besides.
The artist may be Iranian – in fact, he was born in Paris before moving to Tehran for most of his early life – but his art, like his fan base apparent at the Saatchi, is much more than that, and we imagine we will be hearing a lot more about him.
‘Oneness Wholeness’ by Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar and curated by Nina Moaddel runs until 5 June 2018 at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea. For more information visit saatchigallery.com/art/sassanbehnam-bakhtiar