Ali Banisadr

Modern myths find physical form in epic, semi-abstract hellscapes.

Ali Banisadr was born in 1976 in Tehran, Iran, and now lives and works in New York, USA.


Before attending art school Banisadr studied philosophy, which now provides the theoretical foundation for his practice. He also explores the translation of sound into image, a distinction which is often blurred within the intuitive process of creating his paintings.

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Our debut collaboration, a screenprint titled Thinkpol, has more separate layers than any other Avant Arte edition - 41 to be precise!

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Practice overview

In Banisadr’s heroic history paintings abstraction and figuration blur. Crowds of people emerge from wide, abstract mark-making with a muted, almost medieval colour palette carefully mixed in oil paint. The artist also creates his own pigments from scratch. Ancient and modern influences combine in the works — from Persian miniature painting, Islamic and Christian iconography, to Futurism, Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. Banisadr builds layers of texture with a range of tools from palette knives to metal sponges. He also experiments with ink and charcoal across drawing and printmaking. Featuring humanoids to symbolise our digital age, alongside socio-political references to the BLM movement and the COVID-19 pandemic, these vast and kinetic canvases directly engage with contemporary life. Banisadr experiences synesthesia, meaning he senses sounds as images. This is key to his process, the rhythmic brushstrokes channeling personal experiences. Born in Tehran in 1976, the artist grew up during the Islamic Revolution and fled the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, re-settling in the US. He notes that the piercing resonance of bombs breaking windows during the war arises throughout his practice, palpable in paintings like It’s in the Air (2010) and The Caravan (2020). In light of this, the compositions act as a visual remembrance, both for the artist’s own experience of conflict, and for the suffering caused by war throughout history and today. Thus, Banisadr’s epic oils force the viewer to look more carefully — not just at painting, but at life.

“I build up layers almost like a musical composition.”Ali Banisadr