Ali Banisadr / MATRIX 185
October 22, 2020 ‒ February 14, 2021
Occupying the “between space” of fantasies and dreams, Ali Banisadr’s lively paintings explore intangible worlds balancing figuration and abstraction, order and disorder, energy and entropy. The artist’s process has been related to synesthesia—an internal response to sound that takes visual form as energy and rhythm in his painterly compositions. This creative approach began in Iran, when he was a boy, in response to bombings during the Iran-Iraq War. Fleeing first to Turkey, then California, and now living in New York, Banisadr’s life experiences have fueled his interest in different cultures, art history, and the current events that inform his art. Hallucinogenic or monochromatic color palettes heighten the drama of veiled masses in motion or commotion as if on a stage. He differentiates individual figures by pattern and style, variously applying paint with brushes, rags, and sticks. Like an all-seeing eye, Banisadr observes and considers societies past, present, and future and acts as a social critic on the human condition.
Known for his wide-ranging sources of inspiration, Banisadr asked to curate a small selection of Wadsworth collection works that illuminate his artistic interests. Within the MATRIX gallery, Banisadr has assembled prints, drawings, paintings, and a construction dating from the 16th to the 20th century from a variety of cultures. These include a panel painting after Hieronymus Bosch, Caprichos prints by Francisco Goya, woodblock landscape prints by Utagawa Hiroshige, and an assemblage by Joseph Cornell. Whether abstract or representational, Banisadr finds a kinship in their subject matter: strangely vivid worlds often animated with disturbing creatures.
Taking a broader view of the collection, Banisadr has also created a video collage of works on view throughout the museum that inspire him. Interested in showing his artist’s eye, the collage presents specific details in works of art where his focus is drawn. Banisadr’s video collage will be accessible both in the gallery and remotely on the Wadsworth’s social media channels and on thewadsworth.org.
Art Basel Online Viewing Room Event
Recorded on June 20, 2020
Ali Banisadr and Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art Patricia Hickson discuss his new painting Red, alongside select works by Max Ernst, and Banisadr’s upcoming MATRIX exhibition.
Images from left: Ali Banisadr, The Prophet, 2020, Oil on Linen, 66×88 inches; Red, 2020. Oil on linen. 48 x 60 in. Courtesy the artist and Kasmin Gallery, New York.