"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.