with Jean Cocteau
by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar
Santo Sospir presents Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau – a collection of mixed media sculptures as well as a sound installation by Franco-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar. Within a frame of his existentialism-centred Oneness Wholeness series Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, a Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat based artist, explores the legacy of Jean Cocteau at the historic villa Santo Sospir.
The solo exhibition focuses on the shared vision of humanity between Jean Cocteau and Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar. A synergy between the two artists transcends the time in Behnam-Bakhtiar’s sound installation created after the artist discovered a 1962 video entitled ‘Jean Cocteau speaks to the year 2000’ where Jean Cocteau shares existential observations from the dining room of villa Santo Sospir, saying “We live according to conventional norms…and it’s likely that we have misled ourselves and perhaps you are still misleading yourselves…It’s possible that what we call progress could prove to be the development of an error…I certainly hope…that you have become very humanized: that’s my hope”. These specific messages resonate deeply with the philosophy behind Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s Oneness Wholeness series which debuted at London’s Saatchi Gallery in May-June 2018, focusing on the importance of being connected with the eternal self, particularly in our modern world where, the artist believes, people lose themselves more and more every day. “We are lacking humanity in our lives, and going further and further away from it. I see the need for a turn in our direction towards a better understanding of ourselves as human beings” says Behnam-Bakhtiar. On this resonance a dialogue between the two artists was born.
Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau also includes a series of large-scale sculptures suggesting the frequent visitors of Cocteau at Santo Sospir – Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Charlie Chaplin, Vlaslav Nijinsky, Coco Chanel and all the people who have come and gone, leaving enchanting energy that engulfs the premises of this historical monument in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Each sculpture is painted in Behnam-Bakhtiar’s signature painting style and the series are the artist’s homage to the vibrant personalities who have passed through the legendary villa Santo Sospir, and the traces they left behind, thus inviting current visitors to lose themselves amongst these characters and perhaps re-examine their own life paths.
Born in 1984 in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat based Franco-Iranian visionary Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar is an artist who is known not only for his work but for his perspective on the world around him and for bringing a new Middle Eastern message to the international art scene and the world. Sassan is the carrier of an essential understanding that drives him to speak of his subjects based on their mental and physical individualism, as well as their trace in history. This citizen of the world without boundaries is driven by his opinion of the truth that is communicated to the outside world via his artistic forms of expression.
The artist's works originate from his direct experience of the world. With his multiple focus, restless drive, and democratic approach, he is able to capture the vibrant and intimate details of his subjects within the genres of painting, sculpture, collage, installation and fine photography.
Viewing the world through the prism of Sassan’s carefully crafted paintings and compositions gives us a sense of his profound compassion for humanity. Behnam-Bakhtiar is perhaps one of the most sought after and must-see creatives currently on exhibition.