In this three-part piece, Arash Hanaei takes on the messaging of the garishly colored neon signage that marks the cityscape of Tehran, his home. Each section of the work repeats the colloquial Persian expression Too Khali, which means empty or void. It is a conscious reference and homage to the work of Parviz Tanavoli, one of Iran’s greatest modern sculptors, who is best known for his imaginative three-dimensional renderings of the Persian word heech, or nothingness. Tanavoli not only helped to define the artistic generation leading up to the 1979 Islamic Revolution but has continued to inspire postrevolutionary artists like Hanaei.
Arash Hanaei has participated in solo and group shows since 2002, when he received a BA in photography from Azad University of Art, Tehran. Included in the groundbreaking 2009 exhibition Iran Inside Out at New York’s Chelsea Museum, his work has also been shown at Art Dubai and Paris Photo. He currently divides his time between Tehran and Paris.