Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar is a French - Iranian artist. Born in Paris, he lived in Tehran, Iran as a teenager and young adult. Many of his works are well-known for exploring his visionary and philosophical views on life and humanity, derived from the artist’s personal life experience of post-revolution Iran, including the Iran-Iraq war, a traumatic period in the history of the country; and his subsequent reflections on these experiences while living in France and elsewhere.
Behnam-Bakhtiar's oil paintings are created in his signature style of peinture raclée involving and intricate style of scraping, relaying and spreading of numerous blends over particular points. For the artist, these, represent layers of energy, feelings and time. He paints from one layer to another for several months to years to create his complex works referencing to a prosperous way of life, human evolution, the universal language, eternal feelings and Self, history, present and future, awakening a strong sense of experiencing positive emotions and transcendence, while accessing its audience's psyche to bring about locked knowledge, intuition and human sensitivity.
Sassan's most recent body of oil paintings have been shown worldwide including a solo exhibition at London's Saatchi Gallery and a solo exhibition at the historic Villa Santo Sospir in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat entitled Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau.
Behnam-Bakhtiar's works are part of many private collections internationally. The artist has exhibited with the biggest names of the contemporary art world from London & Dusseldorf to Los Angeles & New York.
Sassan is currently based in the South of France where he continues to pursue his chosen disciplines.
“Now a new rising star is approaching the Iranian art firmament. Starting today in one of the world’s most prominent galleries for Iranian art, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s exhibition, Extremis, brings a new viewpoint and vibrancy to the scene.”
“The mixed-media paintings, with their scintillating strata of colours, evoke the sensation of a late Monet or Renoir were it to be left out in the sun to melt and drip down the canvas.”
Rachel Spence, LUX Magazine, 2019
"Behnam-Bakhtiar has created work here that encourages our subconscious to absorb Extremis. He’s done so without motivations of intellectual artistic manipulation, but rather, simple encouragement to reduce the literal and figurative noise of modern life in order to find a sense of calm and ultimately, oneness. Behnam-Bakhtiar’s paintings are but a visual call to unite emotion, the psyche, and the past, present and future in an attempt to share how lessons learned from pain can become lessons to learn in enlightenment."
Katrina Kufer, Harper's Bazaar Art, 2019
"Renowned for vibrant compositions rich with color, the artist's unique compositions celebrate his personal history and cultural identity through eclectic patterns and landscapes."
Harper's Bazaar Art, 2019
"To refer to them as ‘mixed media on canvas’ comes nowhere close to doing them justice, as they are complex and painstakingly crafted works of immense skill, using the artist’s trademark layered technique. Behnam-Bakhtiar specializes in large works, expansive and yet also highly detailed, studded with jewel-like effects that resonate with the richness of a Persian heritage that he regards as central to what he does and who he is."
James Parry, Lux Magazine, 2019
"Art for the Ages."
Vanity Fair on Art, 2018
"Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar s'associe a Jean Cocteau pour partager un message d'amour et de simplicité. Ici avec ces doubles universels qui présente les différents états d'un seul être et l'unicité de tous. Face a eux, un seul Jean Cocteau, celui de 1962 menant son message a celui de Bakhtiar."
Nice Matin, 2018
"Oneness Wholeness With Jean Cocteau, the must see exhibition on the French Riviera"
"Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, the artist working wonders on the edge of the Mediterranean"
"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”... Behnam-Bakhtiar outlines his philosophy, which is essentially a rejection of contemporary working practices, over-indulgence and negativity."
"In these canvases, a mature relationship with abstraction, colour and subtle cues to his heritage result in breathtaking visual moment."
Rebecca Proctor, Harper's Bazaar Art, 2018
"Such a positive take on what was undoubtedly an uncomfortable situation, initially at least, is typical of Behnam-Bakhtiar. Not for him the hand-wringing and tortured rhetoric around identity and dispossession that have come to characterize so much Middle Eastern art. Instead of clichéd artist angst, he exudes a sense of ease with himself, of someone who is highly creative and yet able to channel his energies in wholly positive ways... He is unequivocally clear and focused about his role as an artist... After a string of international exhibitions, he is now considered as one of the most dynamic artists of his generation."
James Parry, Canvas, 2018
"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... The shimmering, prismatic color effect achieved by Behnam-Bakhtiar in these works resembles that of Monet’s Thames series, a sequence showing London’s Houses of Parliament at different times of day."
British Council, 2018
"There’s a distinct movement visible in the paintings that not only reveals the artist’s process, but also a kind of gentle fluidity, a lapping almost (not dissimilar to Monet). Whilst the titles are mystical sounding, pointing towards Behnam-Bakhtiar’s musings around existentialism, nature and harmony.”
"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."
Darius Sanai, Lux, 2018
"Sometimes meditative, but often with more than a hint of a political bent, his work manages simultaneously to be immediately relevant as a reflection of a rapidly changing area of the world, as well as inextricably linked to millennia-old visual tradition. Behnam-Bakhtiar represents on elf the first artists to showcase Iran to the West through Iranian eyes... He is a rare perspective on a country with a young population, a volatile political situation, rich in culture and history and prime for change and opportunity."
Vanity Fair, 2018
"Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, raised between Iran and Paris and now resident in Cap Ferrat, responds to history and politics through large canvases of ancient motifs in fraught, lurid color... Oneness Wholeness charts an exciting talent whose work transcends cultural boundaries. "
"The artist’s new series offers a mature understanding of abstract form through a rhythmic and meditative pairing of various colors. Soft, light and airy, these new works by Behnam-Bakhtiar are poetic both in aesthetic and ideology—and their titles are too. The Guided, Permanence and Spiritual Rising, With Nobility Courage and Strength We Shall Select a New Path—reading like proverbs, they guide us, and the artist, on a journey towards spiritual enlightenment."
Harper's Bazaar Arabia, 2018
"Color, form, texture and movement—through use of such elements, Behnam-Bakhtiar depicts the indefinable—the energy that surrounds and connects us to all living beings."
Harper's Bazaar, 2018
"French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar is coming to the Saatchi Gallery with a major new exhibition of his work, Oneness Wholeness, presented by Nina Moaddel Art Advisory. His colourful large-scale paintings draw on thousands of years of Iranian culture, weaving in ancient Persian motifs and patterns, and aim to challenge the perceptions and beliefs about Iran that persist in the West."
"Behnam-Bakhtiar strives to communicate a resonant truth."
Saatchi Gallery Magazine, 2018
"Sassan is renowned for his vibrant mixed media artworks incorporating traditional Persian symbolism with contemporary forms."
Harper's Bazaar Interiors, 2016
"The Iranian visionary, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, an artist who is known not only for his paintings but for his perspective on the world around him. Bringing a new Middle Eastern message to the international art world, Behnam-Bakhtiar is perhaps one of the most sought after and must-see creatives currently on exhibition."
Buro 24/7, 2016
"Established names such as Shirin Neshat, winner of the First International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999, will be presented alongside up and coming young stars such as Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar. A multitalented Renaissance man, who has already sold works in Sotheby’s and Christie’s, is definitely the one to watch. A bridge between the Middle East and the West, a step closer to the ancient culture of Persia while jumping fearlessly to the now. Behnam-Bakhtiar masters the power of imagery to its full potential. Be it photographic collages; be it acrylic and gold leaf on canvas. He breaks stereotypes and old clichés with great command and smooth easiness."
Lorenzo Belenguer, FAD Magazine 2016
"Despite having been dubbed the ‘new kid on the block’ (among other things) by some, he has, in a very short time, seen his work shown in solo exhibitions in London, major charity galas, international art fairs, and on prestigious online platforms; not bad at all, one could well say. Although he comes from a business background and is known for his entrepreneurial flair and drive, it isn’t money that’s driving Sassan’s artistic practice, but rather a simple love for his homeland, and a journey through the many facets of his identity. Combining traditional Persian motifs with black-and-white photography, fashion aesthetics, and archival material, Sassan strives to reveal through his work not only his own true self, but also that of Iran."
Joobin Bekhrad , ReOrient Magazine, 2015
"Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar is a man on a mission to inform the world of the true nature of Iran. The Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar brand is a slick operation, an MBA-fuelled international marketing machine."
Arsalan Mohammad, Harper's Bazaar Art, 2015
"Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, a multitalented Renaissance artist from Iran, portrays with his works a different Iran than the one been seen through the lens of international media. An interesting and necessary alternative view."
The Huffington Post, 2014