Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar: The Age of Energy New PhillipsX Show

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, Earth, 2023

PhillipsX is presenting The Age of Energy, a selling exhibition in collaboration with Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, with the support of SETAREH and curated by Kamiar Maleki. Featuring 13 oil paintings which explore themes of loss of Identity and disconnect due to traumatic events, as well as the reawakening and spiritual transformation that can lead to a deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us – these works oscillate between the abstract and figurative. Each of Behnam-Bakhtiar’s paintings in The Age of Energy depicts the internal structure of trees which he connects with trauma-recovery and healing. A crucial element in nature which sustains, amongst other things, human life through oxygen production, trees are integral to our existence and the planet and, similarly to us, have a broad spectrum of critical internal processes which are not always prominent or visible. The Age of Energy will be on view in Phillips’ London galleries on Berkeley Square from 16 to 26 March. 

Behnam-Bakhtiar’s oil paintings are created in his signature peinture raclée, an intricate style of painting which involves layering pigmented and vivid colour and then scraping to produce layers of texture on the linen canvas.

For the artist, these layers represent different energies, feelings and moments. He paints one layer and then another for several months and sometimes years to create complex, multifaceted works which reference alienation, disconnection, and spiritual displacement, as well as the healing power of energy to ultimately reconnect us to ourselves and the world around us.

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, Earth, 2023
Left:   Sassan Behnam Energy Within 2023  Right: Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, Earth, 2023


With this new body of work, Behnam-Bakhtiar worked in his signature peinture raclée style to produce a sense not only of the interior of trees but also of the texture and physicality of trees. Time in nature can significantly reduce the production of stress-related hormones, improve mood, create dopamine, and boost endorphins. Through The Age of Energy, the artist explores how trees can have this immensely positive effect on us. His paintings serve as a direct reminder of how energy and nature can have a transformative impact on our existence, help us to heal from our loss of Identity, and find reconnect.

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar said, “The Age of Energy is a vital core of my practice. Each piece from this body provides a window to a constant reality in our lives, taking the viewer on a journey, enabling them to connect to and understand life’s true essence – Energy. I am happy to be showing these intimate works to the public in my favourite space in London, at Phillips.”

Kamiar Maleki said, “Identity and loss today is a subject that has a huge impact on personal growth and society. Behnam-Bakhtiar’s latest energy paintings are a powerful tool for helping viewers process his experience of trauma and invite viewers to grow with him on his path to recovery. Behnam-Bakhtiar uses trees as a spiritual link to connect the mind, body, and soul. Through this exhibition, viewers can spend time among the trees, the artist’s inner sanctum, connecting to something larger than themselves. We invite you to grow with these paintings and fully immerse yourself in Behnam-Bakhtiar’s practice.”

Miety Heiden, Phillips’ Deputy Chairwoman and Head of Private Sales, Phillips, said “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and Kamiar Maleki on this exhibition’. This is a remarkable body of visually captivating and highly thought-provoking work. We look forward to opening the doors to our Berkeley Square galleries and welcoming visitors to explore this immensely engaging exhibition.”

Tamila Kerimova, Director, Senior Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips, said, “It is a pleasure to bring together and celebrate the creative minds of Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and Kamiar Maleki, the culmination of which is this stunning exhibition. I am thrilled to be able to share the meditative effect of Sassan’s paintings with our collectors, followers, and fellow art enthusiasts. Set in our spectacular light-filled space at Berkeley Square, I am confident this presentation will be a truly memorable experience.”

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar is a Franco-Iranian artist. Born in Paris in 1984, Behnam-Bakhtiar lived in Tehran as a teenager and young adult. The artist’s work is known for exploring his views on life and humanity, derived from his experiences in post-revolution Iran, including the Iran-Iraq war, and his subsequent reflections on those experiences.

Based in the South of France, Behnam-Bakhtiar’s work has been shown worldwide, including in solo exhibitions at Dusseldorf’s Setareh Gallery, London’s Saatchi Gallery and the Villa Santo Sospir in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. In addition, many of the artist’s works are part of notable private international collections.

Top photo: Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar Earth (Detail) 2023 Photos courtesy the artist and Phillipsx

Exhibition viewing: 16 – 26 March 2023 – Location: 30 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6EX

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