hadi tabatabai
Artist Work 

§ Preface

10 Pieces

The Music

The Exhibit & Performance

Lachrymae CD


by Hadi Tabatabai

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. – Khalil Gibran

Lachrymae is a project based on the power of rituals. One hundred and thirty people from different parts of the world participated in the ritual of cutting small papertears. The paper provided by the artist came from the same source, giving a level of continuity to the project. An envelope containing these un-cut tears along with a "proposition letter" was mailed out to individuals. They were also left at local coffee shops, laundromats, libraries, and community centers. The collected tears were then incorporated into three pieces of work as a documentation of this act.


- A small, narrow-necked vase found in ancient Roman tombs, formerly thought to have been used to catch and keep the tears of bereaved friends.
- Of or pertaining to Tears.(adj)
- Of, pertaining to, or constituting the glands that produce tears.(adj)
- Lachrymals, the Lachrymal glands.(n)

- Weeping or inclined to weep, tearful.(adj)
- Causing or tending to cause tears; sorrowful.(adj)

Lacrima Christi
- Tear of christ.

Lachryma Christi
- A table wine produced from grapes grown near Vesuvius, in Italy.

- A drop of the saline, watery fluid continually secreted by the Lacrimal glands between the surface of the eye and the eyelid, serving to moisten and lubricate these parts and keep them clear of foreign particles.(n)
- This fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, esp. grief.(n)

A few years back I came across a recording of a piece by Benjamin Britten, titled 'Lachrymae op.48a'. The liner notes included an essay written by Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich, also titled Lachrymae. The essay was about the reason for classical music taking a turn from a more positive commercial form, with mainly entertaining qualities, to a darker side of life, mainly dealing with grief; an area that hasn't been tainted by brainless entertainment. He says that it's no wonder that the music "of note" has become music "of need" and less "beautiful" than it once was.

Grief, sorrow and sadness are usually related to loss and have had negative connotations. The experience of happiness and bliss, are possible only because of their counterpart. They are inseparable. As Khalil Gibran puts it, "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain". For me, joy has been just that. It is as if in the process of becoming real, you become joyous. Since tears are also created by the two extreme emotions of sorrow and bliss, we could say that there is a truth or reality which is manifested within tears.

Maria, a character from a play by Albert Camus, talks about how one must cry a foot of tears before anything grows.

This letter is a proposal to you or to anyone who would like to participate. Enclosed please find a piece of paper covered with tears, and two small yellow envelopes. Cut out the tears from the piece of paper. Place the tears in an envelope, print your name and mailing address neatly on the envelope. Then, mail it to the address below.

REMINDER: If there is more than one participant, use the small envelopes provided to keep the tears separate. Please include your full name and address with each set of tears.

(Do not use the small envelopes for mailing.)

While participating in this ritual I want you to think about your own reason or reasons for doing so. It being injustice, ignorance or any other wrong doing which you have experienced.

I don't know why I have taken the role of 'tear collector', but my wish is to put these tears (your tears) in a collaborative piece that will hopefully be exhibited. You will be notified when this happens.

There is only one guide line, and that is that all the tears should be cut out from the same kind of paper. I think it is important to keep this unity. If you need more paper for you or friends please contact me and I will be more than happy to supply the paper.

The father in Tarkovsky's film 'Sacrifice', tells his son as they plant a dead tree, that if you water this every day at the same time, one day it shall blossom.

— Hadi Tabatabai

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