Artist, collector and scholar Parviz Tanavoli’s (B. 1937) work reflects an appreciation of his motherland Iran’s national and cultural identity whilst celebrating and fusing Persian art and culture. Active since the height of Iran’s art scene in the 1960’s, Tanavoli’s trajectory has spanned the east and west now based in Tehran and Vancouver.
Within his artistic practice a sense of contemporaneity influenced by the pop art movement, results in modern sensibility that is also visually identifiable as Iranian. Tanavoli is best known as modern master of sculpture, painting, printmaking, ceramics, rugs, and jewellery. Over decades, Tanavoli has developed and refined symbols and motifs within his work like his long-standing project initiated in 1965 the 'heech', a Farsi word for 'nothing' or 'nothingness'. The artist treats the calligraphic script for 'heech' as an elastic figure, rooted in abstract and philosophical concepts. Tanavoli strives to beautify the shape in multiple expressions of three dimensioniality and a variety of materials ranging from highgloss fiberglass to polished bronze.
Tanavoli has made rings and pendants in silver and bronze. More recently he has worked on jewels that incorporate rough stones from his home country. 'For most artists, any tiny object can be turned into jewellery; a nail, a fork or a spoon,’ says Tanavoli. 'For me, however, jewelleries are my sculptures in small scale – I cannot draw a boundary between the two. If for other artists, the world is full of ideas, my ideas have never been more than a few. But these few have kept me busy for over 50 years. Only they never appear in the same scale or shape.’