Pravin Kannanur's Tranceport juxtaposes consciousness and the constant need for production and destruction

Boats, crows, and sleeping dogs occupy monochrome canvases of Pravin Kannanur's “Tranceport” at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.

Questions first leap into the viewer's mind and soon, bewilderment at the fact that those are the only three subjects. First there are sleeping dogs – sliding into the canvases with heads looming over the boat, leaping over the boats, lying down on either sides of the boat, looking up at the boat – all over a bright canvas with “flowing lines”.

Then there are crows perched on a boat, flying over the boat, gazing into the boat, perched on the ground on either side, from most of the subject-object angles in the visual media. These crows have an “intelligent gaze” and the dogs are almost sentient while sleeping.

“The boats are always under construction or in states of disintegration, just like human activity is all about creation and destruction. The crows have an intelligent gaze while looking at this cycle of creation and destruction. I have juxtaposed consciousness and our constant need for production and destruction,” says artist Pravin Kannanur.

The crows or the dogs aren't a uniform black or brown, like one would usually assume them to be. While working in his terrace studio in Chennai, Pravin observed crows peeping at him working. When the sunlight fell on them, he observed that they weren't only black, their beaks appeared “white” in sunlight and their bodies were covered in spots of magenta, blue or turquoise. Hence, his crows are blue-green-black-white and his dogs are magenta-purple-brown and even multicoloured.

“We live in a world that reduces everything into small, manageable blocks. We're actually complex beings. But we suppress some of our identities to bring out others. It's a question of perception and perspectives.”

Pravin has played with the scales of his subjects. Some of the dogs and crows “loom in from the margins” and some of his crows are perched on the border of the canvas. “The centre of any space is usually contested and hegemonic.”

But here, the centre space, in case of the sleeping dog scenario is full of lines that seem to “flow” in, out and around the “curvature” of the subjects.

“It fills the space between the subjects, in a way that explores how one rhythm flows into another. It is like the dog-ness is going into the boat-ness.” Pravin has created this effect painstakingly using knives and acrylic drips, one-at-a-time. But in the crow-boat scenario, the canvas is a plain monochrome of green, blue or brown. Here Pravin has chosen not to “clutter the space between the two”, choosing instead to, “let the resonance and the rhythm remain obvious”.

Pravin feels that the boat is a vessel and the dogs and the crows are vessels. “But what are the vessels for?” Some of his boats are all about the brushwork while others seem to be made of pixel-like patterns that are porous and exchange the flow. None of his works are a copy of existing landscapes that draw the viewer into “illusory” worlds of wonder. “They are a juxtaposition of these two images that are very clearly sitting on canvas”, right on the edge. Pravin's works instead explore the stark reality of the world of his perception.

Pravin's works will be exhibited at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath until August 25.

Keywords: art exhibition

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012