The Goat, 1973

Tavakoli—who is better known as Masht Esmail—was an untutored janitor in the sculpture workshop of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran. Allowed to use the workshop during closing hours, he created a number of works—including this one—that translate domestic animals into abstracted forms.

Heech Tablet, 1973

Tanavoli conceived this work as part of his ongoing investigation into the relationship between word and image. As the artist has recounted, Heech Tablet was inspired in part by the famous Babylonian Hammurabi stele in the Louvre in Paris—of which there is a replica in the Iran Bastan Museum in Tehran. In addition to mimicking the cuneiform […]

Untitled, 1973

Made while Dowlatshahi was in architecture school, this framed collage-like work combines diverse found objects in a single composition. While the piece includes projecting elements, the artist understood it as part of a larger effort to make art that was multi-layered but not necessarily three-dimensional. The work is multi-layered not only literally but also in […]