Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, London
signed and dated Ali BANISADR 2011
oil on linen
137.6 by 182.7cm.; 54¼ by 72in
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg
Private Collection, Europe, acquired from the above
Private Collection, acquired 2015
Salzburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ali Banisadr: We Haven't Landed on Earth Yet, March - July 2012
Bellavita, A., Koppenwallner, A. M. and Herzig, I., Exhibition Catalogue, Salzburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ali Banisadr: We Haven't Landed on Earth Yet, 2012, p. 46, illustrated in colour pp. 46-47
J. Smith, E. Jackson and N. Al-Maashouq, eds., Catalogue Raisonné, Ali Banisadr: One Hundred and Twenty Five Paintings, London 2015, p. 236, illustrated in colour p. 130-131
Very few artists can match technical prowess with poetic sensitivity and make the precarious feel, wondrous. Ali Banisadr’s paintings unmoor you; they make you believe that harmony and liminality can indeed be one and the same.
“I always look for openings, the part of the painting that welcomes me, the part that calls me in. It could be anywhere, and I start from there. And then it becomes a dialogue…You just start a conversation with the work and hope to disappear." (Ali Banisadr quoted in: Jonathan Beer, 'Conversation with the Unnamed: Ali Banisadr', Art-Rated, January 2012).
Visceral in impact and born from a multisensory spirit, Ali Banisadr explains that at times, it is also the rhythms of sound that have inspired his work – that creative inception is somehow internally audible. It is often described of Banisadr, and indeed self-explained, that there is no central point to his paintings, and no interest in it. You can disappear into it, you can allow yourself to be enveloped. Frenetic paintwork or the precision of palette knife strokes somehow take you to lands or places you want to find yourself in: shared cultural memories of Persian battlegrounds from the Shahnameh, or empathetic readings of an artist’s war-torn displacement. The fascination is less in our historical and biographical prescriptions of Banisadr’s work, but rather in its ability to be all or one.
“That's what I like in literature – to read something and to be taken to more than just one particular time, place and argument...Between chaos and order; I try to create order out of the chaos. It begins chaotic and all the figures emerge later." Ali Banisadr, 2015.
Even those less familiar with Banisadr’s body of work, and indeed, even to an ‘untrained eye’, the complexity of his compositions are impressive and the richness of colour in his canvases, overwhelming. In Banisadr’s major global successes, we have garnered wonderful and accurate descriptions of his technique: gestural, rich, intoxicating, laden with multi-layered meaning. Adroit connections have been made to 15th century painter Hieronymus Bosch (with a wonderful video produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) as well as Persian miniatures, and Abstract Expression more broadly. In the spirit of peeling back layers and honouring Banisadr’s belief in an almost continual, eternal searching, we have seen beautiful similarities in the work and style of Joan Mitchell. “Never has colour been more delicate, more sumptuous; never the gesture more independent, more audacious." (Michael Waldberg, Joan Mitchell, Paris 1992, p. 55). Although their oeuvres diverge, we could describe Banisadr’s paintwork in much the same way. This comparison is interesting as it reminds us that art, styles and regions are not so disparate: that we can always find threads that bind together. There are sensory similarities to Adrian Ghenie’s treatment of his canvases and subject matter as well: their shared references to mythology, hidden symbols, memory and myth – dreamlike and other-worldly. Ghenie’s work, Boogeyman (sold in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale, London, 5 October 2018, Lot 49) also shares a textual reference to an inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch.
Ali Banisadr’s genius is in the successful and ambitious weaving of art historical contexts; Islamic worlds can meld with Medieval European with ease. Stylistically, his paintings can be loosely figurative and landscapes at once – all layered with the hand of an artist who confidently maneuvers the techniques of Abstract Expressionism, imbued with faint hints of the skill of a Persian miniaturist.
Banisadr will continue to operate and produce in a space uniquely his, continuing to grow from strength to strength. Stardust is unquestionably a remarkable work to own by this leading artist who has moved beyond the institutional and commercial successes becoming a leading artist among his contemporaries.