• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7893

    International Modern & Contemporary Art, Including Masterpieces from The Collection of Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi

    27 April 2010, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 45

    Parviz Tanavoli (Iranian, b. 1937)

    Pink Heech

    Price Realised  


    Parviz Tanavoli (Iranian, b. 1937)
    Pink Heech
    signed, dated and numbered 'Parviz 70, 6/6' (on the base)
    painted fibreglass
    Height: 62in. (157cm.)
    Executed in 1970, this work is number six from an edition of six, each one produced in a different colour

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    "There is a parallel between Saqqa-khaneh and Pop Art, if we simplify Pop Art as an art movement which looks at the symbols and tools of a mass consumer society as a relevant and influencing cultural force. Saqqa-khaneh artistis looked at the inner belief sand popular symbols that were part of the religion and culture of Iran, and perhaps, consumed in the same ways as industrial products in the West" (Kamran Diba, "Iran" in Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, Widjan Ali (ed.), London, 1989).

    Composed of three letters in Persian language, the single word Heech means 'nothing'. It reflects the feelings of unworthiness, frustration and ineffectiveness which haunt modern man and permeate so much of the writing of contemporary literature. It also renders in a single word the mystical belief that recognizes that God is permanent, while everything else has no true substance, bound to vanish; the other seeks dissolution of the individual personality to find union with the Godhead.
    Tanavoli's use of the Heech underscores the transforming power of his art. In the West, existentialist convention encourages us to take 'nothingness' as a synonym for despair; but the Heech in Tanavoli's work is more nearly synonymous with creativity itself: it is the void filled by the artist's imagination, the 'nothing' that through his shaping hand becomes 'something'. Mysticism enhances Tanavoli's fascination with the Heech, but, as he himself acknowledges, he was also drawn to its calligraphic shape because of its resemblance to the human body. If the word itself suggests melancholy, Tanavoli's Heech sculptures are joyful works. They stand, sit or recline as sensuously eloquent reminders of the plastic nature of Persian calligraphy. Often they have a whimsical, questioning look.

    The 1970 fibreglass Heech was produced in an edition of only six, each one in a different colour. Another work from the edition is illustrated in Ruyin Pakbaz and Yaghoub Emdadian, Pioneers of Iranian Modern Art Parviz Tanavoli, Tehran, 2003, p. 99 and in David Galloway and Parviz Tanavoli, Parviz Tanavoli: Sculptor, Writer & Collector, Tehran, 2000, p.163.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    "'Nothing' is an aspect of God who is in all things and therefore in everything. The 'nothing' is not God, but is a place where God could be in his purest state."
    Parviz Tanavoli