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Ready for a brainteaser?

Prasad Raghavan’s poster-like art is made to get the viewer thinking, just like a puzzle.

art and culture Updated: May 14, 2010 13:41 IST
Jigna P

Analysing, understanding and critiquing his doubts about the society, Delhi-based Prasad Raghavan looks at human problems in an artistic way. He says, “I’m not an artist who makes pretty pictures.” Gallery BMB will be host to his first solo show, Shot Tilt, curated by artist, curator and gallerist Bose Krishnamachari.

The show will have 30 artworks in various mediums — oil on canvas, photographic prints and a video. The title, Shot Tilt, is taken from a filmmaking terminology, tilt shot. Known for his poster-like art, Raghavan belonged to the ad world for many years. Having trained as a graphic designer from Trivandrum College of Fine Arts, Raghavan started a career in advertising in 1991. In 2004, he gave up the day job and began a film club in Delhi called A: DOOR, where he showed world movies for free.

He began making posters for the film club. These were simple doodles, paintings and sketches. “Whenever I liked the theme or the title of a film, I would create a poster for it. I did it just for fun,” says Raghavan. The very first poster that he made to launch the film club won him a Silver Lion at the Cannes Festival in 2005.

In 2006, Bose Krishnamachari happened to see Raghavan’s posters and asked him to exhibit them in a show that Krishnamanchari was curating. Raghavan displayed 12 large-size posters in the show called Spy in 2007. “I wasn’t trying to get into the art market. It just happened. And after the show, my work started getting noticed and I got shows in Mumbai, Delhi and abroad,” says Raghavan.

“After working for ad agencies for more than 10 years, creating my own work gave me an immense sense of freedom. The common theme to all my work is that I look into the lives of people and the society, what my fellow human beings are doing. I’m like a critic,” he says.

In his works, Raghavan debates the idea of desire and false promises. “We live in a society that constantly generates desire. We are made into consuming subjects. There are a lot of false promises around us, which make us voracious consumers. My idea is to analyse and understand this kind of desire and false promises through the creation of ‘false icons’ and the images of garbage, sin and guilt,” says Raghavan.

“Each of my work is an observation and a comment on a grave issue,” he explains. 2010 and 2011 are busy years for him with a number of shows lined up, he informs. Sneak peek The video, Decoupage, is the artists’ interpretation of The Ten Commandments from the Bible. It shows 10 people who are asked 10 questions each. What are the questions and can we have answers? Shot Tilt begins on May 17.