Elliott Louis Gallery Canadian Fine Art

Parviz Tanavoli  Bio  ·     ·  Exhibitions:   Timeless Modernity  ·  Parviz Tanavoli: Recent Bronzes

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1937 and immigrating to Vancouver in 1989, Parviz Tanavoli is the pioneer of modern sculpture in Iran. His art career began in the early 1950's and spans to the present.

Crucial to understanding Tanavoli's achievements is the realization that he has explored, analyzed and absorbed the rich visual, literary and craftsmanly traditions of Iran. It is virtually impossible to separate his work as an artist from his passionate engagement as a researcher, teacher, collector and author. These complex relationships are perhaps most richly and most succinctly represented by the artist's life-long preoccupation with the lock. Dismantling and repairing locks was a favourite pastime from early childhood, and that has no doubt offered important "sculptural" lessons about formal interrelationships, including those of positve and negative space.

To view the Artist Dossier on Parviz Tanavoli which is featured in the 2013 July/August issue of ART + AUCTION Magazine, Click Here.


Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.

Parviz Tanavoli - Heech in Heech - click for larger image

Heech in Heech
70 x 50 cm 
screen print
edition of 25
Parviz Tanavoli - Farhad Squeezing Lemon - click for larger image

Farhad Squeezing Lemon
70 x 49 cm 
screen print
edition of 34
Parviz Tanavoli - Poet and Nightingales - click for larger image

Poet and Nightingales
70 x 50 cm 
screen print
edition of 50
Parviz Tanavoli - Farhad and I - click for larger image

Farhad and I
70 x 50 cm 
screen print
edition of 38
Parviz Tanavoli - Disciples of Sheikh San'an - click for larger image

Disciples of Sheikh San'an
100 x 70 cm 
screen print
edition of 25
Parviz Tanavoli - Poet and Nightingale - click for larger image

Poet and Nightingale
70 x 50 cm 
screen print
edition of 80
Parviz Tanavoli - Lion and Sun - click for larger image

Lion and Sun
100 x 70 cm 
screen print
edition of 70
Parviz Tanavoli - Nightingale - click for larger image

70 x 50 cm 
screen print
edition of 40
Parviz Tanavoli - Purple Lion - click for larger image

Purple Lion
70 x 100 cm 
screen print
edition of 80
Parviz Tanavoli - Lion and Sword  - click for larger image

Lion and Sword
70 x 100 cm 
screen print
edition of 80
Parviz Tanavoli - Lovers - click for larger image

70 x 50 cm 
screen print
edition of 24
Parviz Tanavoli - Three Lovers - click for larger image

Three Lovers
70 x 50 Inches 
screen print
edition of 33
Parviz Tanavoli - Love the Bird - click for larger image

Love the Bird
100 x 70 cm 
digital print
edition of 80
Please email the gallery to view more works by Parviz Tanavoli.

Critically acclaimed and widely acknowledged as the “father of modern Iranian sculpture,” Tanavoli’s trajectory has spanned east and west as he has innovated ambitiously across media. Best known as a sculptor, his expansive oeuvre also includes painting, printmaking, ceramics, rugs, and jewelry. As well, he is a highly regarded collector, scholar, and poet.  This exhibition shares the breadth and richness of his work from the 1960s to the present.

Based in Tehran and Vancouver, Tanavoli (b.1937) was a leading influence among a generation defined by its commitment to artistic practices that are both modern and distinctly Iranian. Over decades, he has refined a complex system of symbols and motifs into a distinctive visual lexicon, fusing Persian traditions with pop sensibility. As well, his work entwines profound sensitivity to language, formal clarity, and conceptual engagement into a forcefully original artistic practice.  

Tanavoli returns again and again to the Poet, the Prophet, and the Lovers, to walls and windows, locks, and birds— figures that stand on metaphorical borders, and exist aesthetically between traditions of realism and abstraction. Among his many long-standing projects, heech—initiated in February 1965, and set to mark a fiftieth anniversary with the opening of the Davis exhibition—perhaps best exemplifies Tanavoli’s work. The artist treats the calligraphic script for “heech,” the Farsi word for “nothing” or “nothingness” to multiple expressions in three dimensions and variable materials—from delicate jewelry to polished bronze and hi-gloss fiberglass sculpture. The concept of heech, as Tanavoli explains, is abstract, philosophical, and celebratory; he says,  "Heech is not nothing. It has a body, a shape, but also a meaning behind it.”

Internationally recognized as one of Iran’s foremost artists, Tanavoli’s work has been presented around the world, and has recently been featured in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, Asia Society and the Grey Art Gallery at New York University. His work is held in numerous public and private collections, including: Tate Modern and the British Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran; Mathaf Museum, Qatar; Royal Society of Fine Arts, Amman; and the Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi.

1964-79    Head of the Sculpture Department at Tehran University
1960-63    Taught sculpture at the Minneapolis College of Arts and Design
1958-59    Studied sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, Italy
1956-57    Attended Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara, Italy
1956          Graduated from Tehran School of Arts

Solo Exhibitions
2013           Exhibition in Tehran
2011           Exhibition in London
2009           Exhibition in Dubai
2006           Elliott Louis Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2003           Retrospective, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
1989           Rudolf Mangisch Galerie, Zurich
1988           Hirschberg Galerie, Koln- Galerie Am Rosenberg, Graz
1980           Galleria Greminger, Genova
1978           Aachen Neue Galerie/Samlung Ludwig, Aachen
1976           Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York- Iran-America Society,Tehran
1972           Goethe Institute, Tehran
1971           Martin Gallery, Minneapolis
1970           Iran-America Society, Tehran- Shiraz University, Shiraz
1967           Seihoun Gallery, Tehran  
1965           Borghese Gallery, Tehran
1962           Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis- K. B. Gallery,  Minneapolis
1961           Atelier Kaboud, Tehran
1960           Farhang Hall, Tehran- Iran Club, London
1958           Reza Abbassi Hall, Tehran
1957           Tehran University- Farhang Hall, Tehran

Group Exhibitions
2013           Asia Society, New York  
2013           Museum of Anthropology ( MOA ), Vancouver
2012           Metropolitan Museum, New York  
2009          “Art Dubai,” Dubai
2008          “Routes,” London
2006           The British Museum, London, UK
2004           Persian Garden, (installation ), Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
2002           Iranian Contemporary Art, Christie’s, London- Picturing Iran Art, Society and Revolution,
                    Grey Art Gallery, NY University
2001           Iranian Cotemporary Art, Barbican Center, London
2000           Continental Shift, Aachen, Maastricht, Heerlen and Liege- 7th International Shoebox Sculpture,
                    The University of Hawaii Art Gallery
1999           Atrium Public Gallery, Vancouver
1989           Contemporary Art from Islamic World, Barbican  Centre, London
1988           Olympiad of Art, Seoul,
1977           Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
1975           Grey Art Gallery, New York University
1967           Quadriennale of  Rome
1964           Venice Biennale
1962           Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris-  Musee d’Ixelles, Brussels- Third International Biennale of Sculpture,
                    Carrara-Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
1960           Venice Biennale

British Museum, London
Dakar, Senegal, Outdoor Sculpture
Forum Ludwig, Aachen
Grey Art Gallery, New Yourk University
Guggenheim Museum, Abu- Dhabi
Haft Chenar Park, Tehran
Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
Iowa University Art Museum
Jahan Nama Museum, Tehran
Mathaf Museum, Qatar
Mellat Park, Tehran
Metropolitan Museum, New York
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Nelson Rockefeller Collection, New York
Nour Foundation, London
Olympic Park, Seoul, South Korea
Sammlung Ludwig, Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna
Saint John University, Collegeville, MN
Shiraz University
Tate Modern, London
The City Theater, Tehran
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

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