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Catalogue of the exhibition Beautiful Lies dedicated to the Iranian artist Ali Banisadr, held at Museo Stefano Bardini and Palazzo Vecchio in Florence in 2021.
Born in Teheran, Ali Banisadr moved to the United States with his parents when still a child. Memories of bombings during the war in the 1970s have remained fixed in his mind and are strongly featured in his paintings filled with surreal crowds of people who seem to appear and vanish in the painting’s surface. They represent pandemonium, but where chaos is orderly, even though none of the creatures that inhabit this universe resemble identifiable or recognisable figures found in traditional painting. Beautiful Lies is a work inspired by Dante Alighieri. It was on show in the Sala dei Gigli of the Palazzo Vecchio and was chosen to provide the title of the whole exhibition. The “beautiful lies” beneath which truth is hidden is an expression used by Dante in describing his works and allegorical poetry in general, and it is perfectly suited to Banisadr’s work; his powerful brush strokes and strong colours reveal his personal reality (as well as the universal world) composed of violence and isolation, anguish and wonder, but also memories and imagination.