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Poet Turning Into Heech

Parviz Tanavoli (Iranian, born Tehran 1937)

Object Name:
Sculpture
Date:
2007
Geography:
Canada, West Vancouver
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
H. 89.8 in. (228 cm) W. 22.8 in. (58. cm) Wt. 594 lbs. (269.4 kg)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, 2011 NoRuz at the Met Benefit, 2012
Accession Number:
2012.39
  • Description

    For decades, sculptor and scholar Parviz Tanavoli has worked between his native Iran, the United States, and Canada. One of the founders of the Saqqakhana School, whose followers focused on the intersection of contemporary practices with traditional Persian folk art forms, Tanavoli began to create his legendary heech sculptures in the early 1960s. The heeches are sculptural renditions of the Persian word for "nothing". Originally created as a reaction against the Saqqakhana School, which he felt had lost its purity and become increasingly commercialized, these sculptures are deeply rooted in Rumi's mystical poetry, visualizing the Sufi belief that God creates everything from nothing. They are optimistic, whimsical, and anthropomorphic renditions of "nothing" as it sits on chairs, emerges out of cages, or envelops a poet.

  • Provenance

    Collection of the artist(2007–12; sold to MMA)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
457770

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