Pune's Vida Heydari Contemporary art gallery is holding a solo show of Delhi-based artist M Pravat. The show titled Fugitive Dust has been curated by Sabih Ahmed, Curator of Dubai's Ishara Art Foundation. It features sculptural installations, paintings, drawings, collage works and prints from Pravat's practice from 2016-21.
With blue-prints, maps, architecture and geological land masses collapsing into one another, the works show disintegrating cityscapes. These are not much of a deviation from his usual art, for his art practice has always examined architectural forms and materials through a fractured lens. "This is the first time I am having a show in Pune, and I am quite thrilled with the response I am getting," says Pravat, who lives in Chhatarpur in South Delhi.
"Vida and I had met through common friends. She had visited my studio in Rajpur Khurd and loved the large brick works installed there. She didn’t have a gallery at that time but told me she will exhibit my works once she builds one. In fact, she made a lot of the structural elements keeping in mind these heavy works," he adds.
Born and brought up in Kolkata, Pravat moved to Baroda for his BFA from MS University, and later did his Masters before moving to Delhi as "Delhi’s a very good place to live, and with so many institutions, programmes, art galleries and museums, the city is invigorating for an artist," he says.
Pravat was inclined towards drawing and painting even as a child and "used to copy the faces of freedom fighters from textbooks". "So, when it came to deciding about a career, art seemed a natural progression of my interests," he says.
"My elder brother always told me to do what I wanted to do instead of trying to please our parents. He said they'd figure out how to fit into my life plans. And I followed his advice," he adds.
Like many others, art is Pravat's way of expressing his innermost desires. "I trained as a painter at MSU and my work in the early years was large hyper realistic canvas paintings. Though I have moved away from it formally, I still hold paintings very dear to me," he says, adding in the same vein, "Being an artist is about experiencing new things. If you keep trying new mediums and new techniques, you’ll learn to incorporate more of them into finished projects and round out your skill set."
Significantly, Pravat is neither influenced nor inspired by any great artist out there.
"I draw inspiration from within me. And there’s no single person or object that I consider an ideal. I am drawn to independent thought; people and objects in my surroundings affect and influence me," he says, adding that it is one's own tenacity and determination that helps one excel. The artist maintains two studios, one for his large sculptural works and another for his research and drawings, and he spends most of the daytime at his studios. "But these days I am working from home," he says.
Other than making pieces of art, Pravat loves meeting new people, and getting to know their life stories. "Also, music is a lifelong passion for me, especially the Indian Classical. Earlier, I used to play violin, but not anymore," he signs off.