Press

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and the Legacy of Jean Cocteau

July 11, 2018 - THOMAS BARRIE

The Cap-Ferrat-based artist is opening a new show at the villa Santo Sospir, building on the legacy of one of the twentieth century’s greatest polymaths.

n 1950, the French artist and poet Jean Cocteau visited the villa Santo Sospir in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to stay with his new friend Francine Weisweiller. He was there, he told friends, for a short holiday, following the successful release of the film adaptation of his novel Les Enfants Terribles. Seized by a sudden boredom in the house, and commenting “Idleness tires me, and dries me out”, he asked Francine’s permission to draw the head of Apollo on the wall above the fireplace.

Twelve years later, he was still decorating the house. Yard upon yard of paintings and drawings had joined the initial charcoal depiction of the sun god, as had mosaics and ceiling frescoes and a tapestry. Cocteau indelibly stamped his mark on the villa overlooking the sea; even now, the house is known as la villa tatouée, and remains a shrine to the artist.

Now, French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar is following in his footsteps. After a successful exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London in June, the artist has returned to his roots to open a solo exhibition at the villa, entitled Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau. A resident of Cap-Ferrat, with his own studio in town, Behnam-Bakhtiar felt a link with Cocteau that spanned the decades, thanks to what he calls “a shared vision of humanity”.

More here.

جبران خليل جبران بطل معرض لندني في أغسطس

June 22, 2018

لندن: عبير مشخص تستضيف العاصمة البريطانية في شهر أغسطس المقبل معرضا متنقلا يدور حول الأديب اللبناني الراحل جبران خليل جبران، وذلك بمقر دار سوذبيز بلندن. وتقيم المعرض مؤسسة «كارافان» الفنية التي كونها قس أميركي مهتم بأعمال جبران.

On The Road to Change

June 3, 2018 - Irene Promodh

CARAVAN takes group exhibition I AM to Seattle as it continues to blaze the trail with its all-women show of Middle Eastern art, writes Irene Promodh.

Hanibal Srouji and the dream therapy

May 23, 2018

Although she carries scars of war, the work of Hanibal Srouji is therapeutic. It repairs the Lebanese, softens the trauma anchored in them and illustrates a part of dream that each carries in itself. In short, the art of Hanibal has a psychoanalytic dimension. Discover his dream world in the exhibition 'Let us Dream', held at the Janine Rubeiz Gallery, from May 30 to July 7. The artist tells us about it. 

An Interview With The Artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

May 23, 2018

The French-Iranian artist, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar is one of the first artists to showcase Iran through eastern eyes and to challenge the negative constructs of the western gaze, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s practice aims to change the perceptions and cemented beliefs about Iran and Iranians that persist in the West. The exhibition draws on thousands of years of Iranian culture, weaving ancient Persian motifs, patterns and landscapes into large-scale mixed media paintings, to explore Iranian identity in the 21st century. Descended from the ancient nomadic Bakhtiari tribe, Sassan’s large scale paintings recall the Zagros Mountains in South West Iran that are still home to the tribe, amongst other subjects.

Through exploring his Persian heritage and his dedicated practice of Kundalini meditation, Sassan has used his art as cathartic release, leading him to explore ideas around existentialism, human compassion and wellbeing. Oneness Wholeness will be Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s first UK exhibition since The Real Me, his debut in London in 2014.

More here.

‘I AM’ focuses on peacebuilding through the arts

May 15, 2018 - Movers and Makers

“I AM” – a visual art exhibition celebrating the contributions of Middle Eastern women to the quest for world harmony and peace – is on display through May 27 at Christ Church Cathedral. It is free and open to the public.

The Cincinnati stop is part of a 16-month U.S. tour.

The Whole Spectrum

May 1, 2018 - KARA KAZANOFF

A commanding use of colour and a unique ability to weave together European and Persian traditions were in evidence at a recent exhibition of paintings by Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar.

The most immediately visible characteristic of Oneness Wholeness, presented at the Saatchi Gallery in London, was the strong use of colour. A rainbow of faded pinks, deep-bodied purples, intensely saturated turquoises and greens, Islamic-tile blues, sunset reds, oranges, and light, lemony yellows covered every inch of the gallery space. It took a moment to adjust to the sight, like seeing the bright light of day after being indoors.

Once past the initial sweep of the senses, it became clear that this use of colour was intended to balance very different painting traditions. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s work has been influenced by the history of European painting – particularly Impressionism – as well as Persian conventions which connect mysticism, meditation and formal repetition. He aims for a holistic approach that is highly ambitious. When it works, it works beautifully.

More here.

Camille Zakharia’s Photographic Foray into the Voids of Bahrain

April 27, 2018 - Sawsan Khalf

It was a sultry December morning when I first came across Lebanese photographer Camille Zakharia’s mercilessly stark photographs of Bahraini compounds as part of a collection titled ‘Birds of a Feather.’ With all the photographs taken under cloudless morning skies in neighborhoods scarcely distinguishable from one another—and therefore also from Adliya, the art-and-restaurant district housing the now defunct Al Riwaq Art Space where the exhibit was being shown — the immediate effect was disorienting: what was inside the photographs closely resembled what lay outside them.

Gallery Girl meets Katia Boyadjian

April 11, 2018 - Lizzy Vartanian Collier

Normandy based artist Katia Boyadjian was born into a long line of photographers. Her father Angelo had a studio in Cairo where she was born and lived for two years before settling in Paris following the events that occurred in Suez in 1956. With experience as both a muse and an artist, her artwork fuses paint and photography and touches on her roots in the Middle East and Armenia. Gallery Girl spoke with Boyadjian to talk about her upbringing, artistic practice and influences.

Egypt’s King Farouk Patek Watch Sets Middle East Auction Record

March 26, 2018 - Claudia Carpenter

Oneness Wholeness, Tree of Life, by Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar in 2017, sold for $15,000 (estimate: $12,000-$18,000). Bakhtiar, who was born in 1984, will exhibit his new series, “Oneness Wholeness,” at London’s Saatchi Gallery in May.

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