Ali Banisadr, Foreign Lands, 2015, Olbricht Collection. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Paris, Salzburg

Artist Ali Banisadr makes his European museum debut

26 March 2019

The Het Noordbrabants Museum is delighted to present Ali Banisadr: Foreign Lands, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in Europe. On view from 6 April to 25 August 2019, the retrospective takes its title from one of Banisadr's most elaborate landscapes, Foreign Lands (2015). Featuring over twenty paintings and works on paper from across a decade of the artist’s career, it will also include a new painting Hold the Fort (2019), created especially for the exhibition.  

Ali Banisadr (b.1976, Tehran, Iran) moved to the United States as a child. In 2000, he started his training as an artist in New Yorkats the School of Visual Arts in New Yorkin New York, the city where he still lives and works today. His work is a careful balancing act between chaos and composure, abstract and figurative painting and drawing. His complex, expansive paintings are rich with figurative allusions rooted in autobiographical narratives, sonic recollection, invented stories, world history, collective memory and mythology. His paintings represent a physiological space where ‘things from the past, the present, and the future can dwell at the same time’1

Influenced by sound

Sound is an integral part of Banisadr’s practice, influencing the way that he works. He has synaesthesia (a condition where one sense, such as sight, simultaneously triggers another, like sound) and within his work he hears an internal sound which guides him on the composition of his paintings. Renowned art historian Robert Hobbs, author of the essay in the exhibition catalogue has described how this has “enabled him to focus on energy and rhythm as crucially important aspects of his innovative art.”2 Other writers have noted that whilst his work has been compared to Hieronymous Bosch or Wassily Kandinsky his dynamic brushwork brings to mind ‘the dashing rhythms and bold symphonic timbres of Sergei Prokofiev or Igor Stravinsky.’3

‘The spirit of an era can be captured in many ways – through music, writing, architecture … for me, understanding issues, personal memories, or human conditions holistically can only happen through drawing or painting. This is an unsettling time for our country and the world. I want to capture that energy and record what it feels like to live right now.’ – Ali Banisadr

Ali Banisadr will be in conversation with Iranian-Dutch writer Kader Abdolah on Friday 5 April 2019.

[1] Phong Bui, “Art in Conversation: Ali Banisadr,” Brooklyn Rail

2 Robert Hobbs, “Ali Banisadr: The Art of Sensation”

[1] Robert Barry, “Ali Banisadr” Frieze

Catalogue and audio tour

A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, written by art historian Robert Hobbs and is published by WBOOKS. The catalogue will be available in Dutch and English from 6 April 2019 and can be bought at the Museum Shop and in bookshops. The audio tour in the exhibition, introduces a selection of the paintings by Ali Banisadr and is accompanied by a soundtrack selected by the artist.

With thanks to

Ali Banisadr: Foreign Lands is made possible and supported by the Renschdael Art Foundation, Blain|Southern and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac.

The bright and vivid pieces are a mixture of order and chaos, of beauty and horror
Hans November, curator of 20th- and 21st-century art at Het Noordbrabants Museum

Banisadr talks about his favourite work by Bosch

Ali Banisadr in Bloomberg: Brilliant Ideas

Press file