Parviz Tanavoli (Iranian, born 1937)
bronze; H. 89.8 in. (228 cm), W. 22.8 (58 cm)
Purchase, NoRuz at the Met Benefit (2012.39)
One of the founders of the Saqqakhana School, which focused on the intersection of contemporary practices with traditional Persian folk art forms, Parviz Tanavoli began to create his legendary Heech sculptures—sculptural renditions of the Persian word for “nothing”—in the early 1960s. These sculptures are deeply rooted in Rumi’s mystical poetry, visualizing the Sufi belief that God creates everything from nothing. Poet Turning into Heech is a whimsical and anthropomorphic rendition of “nothing” as it envelops a poet.