Parviz Tanavoli, ‘Persepolis #1’, 1961, Grey Art Gallery

About Parviz Tanavoli

An artist, collector, scholar, and teacher, Parviz Tanavoli is among the foremost contemporary Iranian artists and a pioneer of modern sculpture. His work—which also includes painting, drawing, weavings, and prints—is infused with his deep knowledge of Iran’s rich visual, craft, religious, and literary heritage. As a founding member of the Saqqakhaneh artistic movement (begun in the 1960s), he merges current secular references with Shi’a religious iconography in his compositions. Among his motifs is “Heech,” a word meaning “nothing.” Of this word and its resonances, Tanavoli has said: “I found there is so much in the Heech, that Heech is not nothing, Heech is something. Then later . . . I realized that there is so much meaning behind it and so many poets . . . have paid attention to this word and have used it and that is how it began.”

Iranian, b. 1937, Tehran, Iran, based in Vancouver, Canada