No. 1 Memorabilia for Heech, is among Parviz Tanavoli’s most important works. Image of this particular work has been reproduced in a majority of catalogs and books that show his works. All stylistic qualities of Tanavoli’s sculptures as well as distinctive features of Saqqakhaneh School of art are visibly seen in this work. In other words, the present work is showcasing a complete set of achievements of a significant school of thought in Iranian modern art.
Tanavoli’s Heech, a product of the most notable period of his career, as well as his geometric cages are both seen in the work. In fact, what enhances the importance and individuality of this fine sculpture is a combination of different periods of his career. On the one hand, his usual Heech is a part of the sculpture, on the other, symbols of Tanavoli’s artistic language, including the bird, cage and illegible writings, have been employed in the work. The sculpture is using in its structure three bronze cubes on a stone pedestal. Two top cubes resemble cages with reticulated walls, and the lower cube is encaging part of the Heech. Writings that are no longer illegible – turning into meaningless forms – are scattered all across the work. Scattered alphabet formed into the figure of a bird – a Tanavoli’s known motif that is relating to the concept of cage – can be considered the beating heart of the sculpture. These meaningless inscriptions are inspired by patterns on textile design. Graceful juxtaposition of these patterns calls to mind classic Persian poetry. Therefore, the work induces a romantic sense in spectators, whereas no true poetry is written and no inverted pattern is intelligible.
Tanavoli’s birds sometimes appear on flat surfaces and sometimes on his sculptural forms. Nevertheless, empty cages are seen in his work. Although here the two-dimensional bird painted on bronze seems to be out of cage, it is still captivated and the two – bird and cage – are inseparable. Unlike other works of the artist that show Heech as an independent work, here it is encaged and partially seen, heroically crying out for freedom. Thus the title of work, Memorabilia for Heech, is assuming meaning. In fact, Heech is captivated by its memory. The fact that a main part of Heech is inserted inside the cage stimulates curiosity of spectators.
Image of this work has been reproduced in major books of Tanavoli as well as catalog of important auctions, including An Exhibition of Works by Parviz Tanavoli at Iran-America Society (Tehran, 1973), An Exhibition of Works by Parviz Tanavoli at Gehry Gallery and Research Center of University of New York (1976, image No. 80), a book titled Parviz Tanavoli: Sculptor, Writer and Collector, written by David Galloway and published by Nashr-e Honar-e Iran Publishing in 2000 (image No. 154), a book titled Pioneers of Iranian Modern Art: Parviz Tanavoli published by Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002 (image No. 62), a catalog of works of Parviz Tanavoli published by Meem Gallery in UAE, 2009 (image No. 191).