LONDON – It did not take long for Ali Banisadr to make an impact. Launching himself as a force on the international art scene, he is one of those rare artists whose origins seem to make little difference. His work is informed by his roots but not weighed down by them; his touch is sure and deft, and the scope of his canvas as unlimited as his imagination.

Banisadr’s most recent opening at Blain Southern in London is a triumph of phantasm and cornucopia. Oscillating between the abstract and figurative, Banisadr inhabits a space where hybrid compositions threaten to dissolve yet draw the eye into battle-scenes and bacchanals without mercy. He draws upon Persian miniatures, Kandinsky, Richter, Bosch and Breughel – a heady mix of influences that leave the viewer in constant flux, somewhere between enjoyment, speculation, and sheer admiration. One thing is for sure: he does not leave you unmarked.

ALI BANISADR, INCUBATOR, 2014, OIL ON LINEN. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND BLAIN|SOUTHERN. PHOTOGRAPHER: JEFFREY STURGES, 2014.

Lucky enough to see this show by myself, I caught the privileged pre-opening time when paintings can be seen in silence – investing blank white walls (in this case the magnificent setting of Blain Southern) with meaning and challenge. How extraordinary they looked, as a collective set of works! I was fascinated to see the artist’s play with scale – from tiny (25 by 20 cm.) to a seven metre triptych that references classic murals and frescoes; his experimentation with tonal possibilities – from colourful to monochromatic.

As Ali mentioned to me, “some viewers think that the work is abstract but then they get close and see how much is happening in the painting. On the other hand, some people think my work is very detailed and then get close and it then becomes abstract.

From the outside; abstract, at a middle position; material and then from a close position it can dissolve altogether.”

I’m a firm believer that art should speak for itself and my message would be this: go see it for yourself.

Ali Banisadr
At Once
BLAIN|SOUTHERN LONDON
Until 21 March 2015