Art And Culture

Seldom Seen Works at Art Center

Seldom Seen Works at Art CenterSeldom Seen Works at Art Center

The biggest ‘Heech’ (literally meaning nothing in Farsi) sculpture of famous Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli was unveiled during the opening of a group exhibition ‘Veterans of Visual Arts’ at Tehran Art Center 2 in the north Tehran on December 18.

Organized by Vahid Malek, noted Iranian art curator, the event was inaugurated in the presence of Gary Lewis, the UN resident coordinator in Iran, Ali Moradkhani, deputy culture minister, Majid Molla-Norouzi, director-general of the visual arts office at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and several veteran and young artists.

The sculpture, which was earlier displayed in London and Boston, arrived in Iran for the first time through efforts of curator Malek who is in charge of the International Affairs of the Global Arts Foundation in the US, Honaronline reported.

Tanavoli, 78, who was not present at the event, is best known as a sculptor; however, his expansive oeuvre also includes painting, printmaking, ceramics, rugs, and jewelry.

Among his many long-standing projects, ‘Heech’ perhaps best exemplifies Tanavoli’s work. Since 1965, he has made hundreds of ‘Heech’ sculptures. They are huge and tiny, in bronze and in neon, on boxes or behind bars.

The concept of ‘Heech’, as Tanavoli had explained before, is abstract and philosophical, “Heech is not nothing. It has a body, a shape and also a meaning behind it”.

His works have been presented around the world, including recently in exhibitions at the US Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, Asia Society and the Grey Art Gallery at New York University.

Pointing to the big sculpture as a sample of Iranian genuine art, the UN official said, he has been residing in Iran for two and a half years during which time, “I have become familiar with the rich Iranian culture from the Achaemenid dynasty to the contemporary times. I see the ancient art and tradition of Iranians reflected in this collection as well.”

  Joint Work

Another significant work at the expo is a joint work titled ‘Roots and Branches’ by two artists from two generations, the veteran painter Nasrollah Afjei, 82, and the middle-aged Amir-Sadeq Tehrani, 56.

Explaining the large artwork showcased for the first time, Afjei said, “The idea came from Tehrani and together we worked on it like a father and son”.

Noting that he always welcomes new experiences, he said, “Mutual cooperation is more effective than solo creation; what matters is trying to understand and coordinate with each other to the end”.

The calligraphy painting comprises two parts: interwoven branches of a tree painted at the top and gnarled roots at the bottom. “Veteran artists are like roots for the next generation who can be defined as the branches,” said Tehrani who did the branches part.

The expo also includes hitherto unseen artworks and ‘Thatched Domes’ is the only sculpture by the veteran painter Parviz Kalantari, 84, created in 1957, exhibited for the first time.

Other artists participating in the exhibition include Nasser Ovissi, Aidin Aghdashlou, Mohammad Ehsai, Mohammad-Ali Taraghijah and Hannibal Alkhas.

  Garden Galleries

Currently comprising two galleries at two venues, Tehran Art Center was established in 2008, by Malek. They have been honored by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) as the first Iranian Garden Galleries.

From the beginning, the center has focused on introducing and presenting the works of great Iranian visual art masters from the past, as well as emerging artists and talents in the fields of classic, contemporary, urban, street and pop art.

Holding research and scientific events in order to encourage arts studies and practice among the youth as well as conducting international art tours with more than 30 exhibitions in collaboration with the World Contemporary Art in the US are among the activities of the center in the past years.

The exhibition will run through January 8, 2016 at the center at No. 145, Persian Calligraphy Society, N. Salimi St., Andarzgoo Blvd., Farmanieh.