Esmaël BAHRANI From IRAN ― Lives in PARIS ― b. 1978

"Today when I paint I don't think, the thoughts come to me all by themselves, Syria, the war, the dictatorship. I'm not trying to be political, but these are feelings and images that come to me because political power acts directly on our lives".

Esmaël Bahrani is an Iranian artist born in 1978. Since 2015, he has been living and working in France. He first studied at the University of Art and Architecture in Tehran but quickly turned away from the dogmatism of the classes to make his own path.
In Iran, a part of the youth, through their way of life, dynamism and artistic creativity, refuses to submit to the very conservative laws of the Islamic Republic and tries to reinvent an open and free country. Esmaël quickly took part in this libertarian effervescence and became a leading figure of the underground through his graffiti made after dark. Similar to screams, his powerful works denounce the oppression of the regime.

In addition to his nocturnal expeditions, the artist also works in his studio. Covering his canvases with wax to better scratch them, he brings to light bodies in a chaotic environment that he does not hesitate to amputate to emphasize their fragility. Often, only a face remains with powerfully corrosive features. The expressive force of this simple presence is unsettling and imprints on the retina. Esmaël Bahrani opposes, beyond the violence of forms, a life force that reveals a universal and combative humanity. The space of his canvases is populated with graphic symbols, eclectic signs evoking both street art and contemporary graffiti. Phallic weapons and military boots, references to the prison environment, writings in the form of a palimpsest, or inscriptions of numbers in Persian revealing the incessant flow of digital data that surrounds us. This semantic profusion synthesizes diverse cultural horizons into an original language.

Esmaël Bahrani's work quickly caught the attention of the initiated circles when he began displaying his pieces in different galleries. In 2005, the Azad Art gallery in Tehran held an individual exhibition dedicated to him. His career was launched. In 2007, he was invited by the artist Hervé Di Rosa to Sète to participate in a collective exhibition at the International Museum of Modest Arts (MIAM). In 2012 in Tehran, his solo exhibition at the Dastan Gallery was a success. Three years later in Paris, he gave a lecture at the Institut du monde Arabe. He took his chance and decided to stay in France. Exiled in Paris, Esmaël Bahrani was initially welcomed in the studio of a friend. In 2017, Berthéas Gallery held his first monographic exhibition in France and published a book dedicated to his incredible journey the following year. Since then, his committed work has been increasingly noticed by collectors and enthusiasts across Europe.
Today, based in Belleville, Esmaël is developing his art in which the Middle East and the West, ancient myths and underground culture, raw art and urban art intersect. From his artist journey in Iran, he has kept a taste for adrenaline and the need to act quickly. Even in the safety of his studio, he continues to give improvisation and the intrusion of the accident a primary role. His painting is the result of a turbocharged confrontation with the canvas. Nothing is spared in his primitive rage: inscriptions, projections, scratches, scarifications... to the point that it retains in its flesh the trace of his creative and destructive gesture. The canvas does not remain silent. It screams. And it is the time of elaboration, the process of creation itself, forever frozen in its entrails that we have the impression of hearing.



Zendegi, Macadam Gallery, Brussels (S)De leurs temps, un regard sur des collections privées, Frac Grand Large, Dunkerque (G)
Dans le Vif, Galerie Berthéas, Paris (S)Ordre et Désordre, 100 ECS, Paris (G)Festival No Frontiers, Cité des Arts, Paris (G)
De Téhéran à Paris, Galerie Berthéas, Vichy (S)
Regards croisés avec Esmael Bahrani, Musée & Jardins Cécile Sabourdy, Vicq-sur-Breuilh (S)
Espace Albatros, Paris (G)Hip-Hop, du Bronx aux rues arabes, Institut du monde arabe, Paris (G)Performance, Association le M.U.R., Paris (G)
Dastans Basement Gallery, Tehran (S)
Homa Gallery, Tehran (G)
Takesh Gallery, Isfahan (G)TAG, Grand Palais, Paris (G)
Graffiti Stories, MIAM de Sète, Abbaye d’Auberives et Musée Paul Valéry de Sète (G)
Azad Art Gallery, Tehran (S)Aban Gallery, Tehran (S)

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