Parviz Tanavoli

A Cage for Letter H, 1970

Image for A Cage for Letter H, 1970

The “letter H” in this work’s title refers to the Persian calligraphic character heech, whose head is visible inside the sculpture’s cage. Although the Persian word heech literally means “nothing,” Tanavoli does not intend to express despair or existential emptiness. Instead, he views heech—one of his favorite motifs—as synonymous with creativity, and employs its signifier to explore his conceptual interest in the existence of nonexistence. According to Tanavoli’s longtime friend Kamran Diba, heech is an “abstract idea from his subconscious, an artistic ploy, a twisted form that attracted him. This figurative non-figuration simply drew him in.”

Medium Bronze
Dimensions 7 x 5 1/8 x 4 7/8 in.
Credit Line Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Donor Gift of Abby Weed Grey
Object ID G1975.53

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Collection Years: 1970