Monday, November 29, 1999

Poster boy

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Artist Prasad Raghavan's art tramples on the terrain of world cinemaGraphic designer and avid movie buff Prasad Raghavan's art might seem cut-and-dried at first with the air-brushed aesthetics of pop art. A second look will reveal a bevy of jagged ends. The title of the Raghavan's first solo show 'Shot Tilt' (which will be on at Gallery BMB till June 28) is the first indication. The artist borrows the term from cinematic terminology where the director changes the angle of perception with a tilt shot. The tilt in the camera helps the director to see things in a new light."I portray minute socio-political and psychological issues of human beings through my art," says the 41-year-old whose works deal with the themes of desire, false promises and consumerism. The show features 10 serigraph panels called Decalogue, two oil paintings, a video adaptation, a huge sculptural installation titled And the Ships Sail Away and a set of drawings.All the works are given the titles of films from around the world. Decalogue, for example, is based on Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski's film that loosely hinges on the ten commandments of the Bible. "The artworks are based on visuals triggered by the films or pertinent issues they raise," says the Delhi-based artist.And the Ships Sail Away contains cargo captioned with the taglines of advertisements that offer false promises to the consumers. "LG's tagline, for example, is Life's Good," says Raghavan. "How exactly is life good?"Art critic JohnyML describes Raghavan's art as "post-poster art". According to him, Raghavan's the only artist in the contemporary Indian art scene who uses the constituent elements of posters to create works which are fundamentally different from the quality and quantity of posters.After working in advertising firms like Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather, Raghavan formed a film club at the basement of a rented apartment in Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi, in 2004, called A:DOOR-The World's Best Movies Free. The poster of Alfred Hitchcock's Birds that he designed for the club went on to win the Silver Lion at the Cannes Festival in 2005. That signaled his move from advertisement to art.That and Bose Krishnamachari. "I'd met Bose once in Delhi and then in Mumbai. He said he'd like to exhibit some of my work," says Raghavan. His first group exhibition at Museum Gallery was curated by Krishnamachari in 2007.Krishnamachari's voice spills enthusiasm when talking about his protégé. "I like to spot new talents and make them superstars," he says with a lopsided grin.Forget about ships sailing away. With Krishnamachari as his mentor, Raghavan's (once described by artist Riyas Komu as "cool in an Andy Warholian sense") ship might well be firmly set on a course towards stardom.

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