Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar creates art to set his inner child free. This is especially true in his most recent body of work, Journey Within, where each canvas depicts dimensions of energy, feelings and time across layers of vivid colour and varied texture. Using his signature technique peinture raclée, pigment is dispersed and scraped across the canvas in a process that can take anything from a few months to a few years. “When creating the works for Journey Within, I set my inner self free prior to commencing my practice to bring on to the surface of the canvas, an impromptu yet organic experience showing what the journey inward could feel like, going through each layer of humanity until reaching one’s soul frequency”, Sassan explains.
Sassan’s solo exhibition Journey Within will be showing at Sotheby’s Monaco from September 6 to September 26. Delicately toeing the line between serenity and chaos, each canvas sees paint seamlessly blending together before it is then pulled apart, with abrupt splotches that separate the romantic ombre of colour. Faint lines and etchings recall both age-old Persian mosaics and modern-day pixels, while the jarring dissonance across the canvas almost resembles a glitch in the fabric of space and time. “The fundamental forces of the cosmos are mirrored in our own inner structure”, notes Sassan. “To live authentically as a human being, means that one requires to see truly. To see truly one needs to understand the procedure to harmonise and activate the individual life energy, so it becomes in line with the cosmic energy.”
Sassan was an obvious choice for Louise Gréther, the Director at Sotheby’s Monaco. “When we are choosing an artist for a solo show we have to be convinced that the artist can own the show and that they have the talent and creative pull to attract an international audience”, Louise shares. Sassan had all this and more – his energy and uniquely entrancing art appealed to not just Louise, but also art patron Ali Jassim. So much so that from this year onwards, Ali has dedicated himself to support Sassan and Sassan alone.
“I have commissioned Sassan for 100 pieces, which will grow to 1000 works during the next ten years”, shares Ali. “Being one of the lucky very few to have seen Sassan at work, I can say with confidence that not many artists share his creative process and technique. Being with him when he creates a piece is an experience by itself – it feels like an immersive experience where one is plunged within in search of a deeper understanding on what it truly means to be human”.
Adding an extra layer of dimension to Sassan’s work is his artistic performance with longtime collaborator Tinie Tempah. Offering a rare glimpse into his art-making process – and for the first time ever – Sassan will create a live work of art in a thrilling discourse with the award-winning British artist and musician who will also be performing live. Art, culture and creativity will converge as visual and aural mediums work in tandem to produce the finished work of art.
“One of the most beautiful things about collaborating is the combined energy between two creatives and what can come from that. Also being able to watch another artist work is always a privilege and a fascinating experience”. The two previously held a performance and residency together at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat in June 2021, while this next step at Monaco is just the beginning of what the two hope to explore and achieve together.
Sassan’s works for Journey Within offer insight into the human condition. Working one layer at a time, each dynamic piece portrays the constant flux of emotions as expressed by Sassan’s inner self. “My inner world is my whole world, with pillars of love, belief, and loyalty to life and nature, and with energy at its core that vibrates with my true intentions backed by kindness and positivity.”