The urban is evidently present in the work of Pratap Morey; but also in a certain way his works try to escape the urban, and literally produce fantasy landscapes where the urban is mere picture-play or it is the miniaturised detail making the urban landscape into a fantasy object. His urban landscapes seem to disappear as if after a catastrophic calamity, a devastating flood or earthquake maybe - where all civilisation has disappeared, submerged underneath the firm ground that only a while ago rocked feverishly - what remains are but a few fine traces or urban visions - and in fact the ground cleaned-up of urbanity has now displayed a sense of fine crafted geometry, as if it craved for that ordered drawing on its ownself.
Morey's landscapes on another level are like the child's playground - planned and ordered, cut into shapes and sizes, with a few images from the 'real' world added in to excite the child's play. A playground or a game board - these landscapes appear not permanent but only temporarily frozen, only to metamorphose into some other landscape diagram soon. Morey has cut up the urban landscape into fine pieces of geometry shaping a Rubik's landscape of sorts, that through some divine trigger will metamorphose into a new arrangement of cuts and pieces every destined moment.
Ephemeral, magical, at times out of a science fiction spatial arrangement these landscapes work between the impressions of the schematic and the details of the personal-picture. The urban exists within monumental imaginations drawn out as diagrams on paper as well as the earth - the planner's tools can draw perfect straight lines and meticulous curves on paper as well as the surface of the earth. But the urban is also fleshed out in its everyday images of streets and buildings, roofs and balconies - where Sintex tanks and Dish TV antennae punctuate a grey-blue sky outlined by concrete blocks of apartments where people are trying to dry clothes and make a living, while newer and higher apartment blocks are being built everyday, covered with blue tarpaulin sheets during construction, and often after that too. Where does the geometry of spatial landscapes, chalked out in our, or a planner's, or a politician's, or Vishnu's dream meet the stuff of everyday life? The root of the word 'to measure' is the same as the root of the word 'to dream' - maya - 'ma' in Sanskrit. The stuff of everyday life - Sintex tanks, and Mild Steel grilles, tarpaulin water-shades over balconies - is indeed the everyday 'art of living' - and that is what Vishnu's dream is made up of - the living of everyday life. Vishnu draws out the terrain of life in his dream, detail by detail, material by material, one object after another, one life along with another, a near doll-worldwith everything in it - it opens, and unfolds like the Kaavad house-landscape. Then what magical hand draws out the fine measured diagram-landscape, the Kaleidoscope-field, theRubik's-terrain - into a set of measured pictures, measured picture-worlds?
Morey's landscapes work with the picture as well as the drawing - the pictures are themselves landscapes at different scales, while the drawings are measured networks of lines and diagrams. The architect's system of drawing landscapes in perspectival construction as well as orthogonal projection is a canonised system through which the built landscape gets built, produced, and sold all the time. It is the system of projection and representation through which the existing world, as well as imaginary projections into the future are drawn out; it in fact is often more the reality than a representation of some matter and presence. The language of technical drawings - measuring and representing the world of 'real-stuff' is a process of deciphering the hidden codes behind the stuff of real worlds; every line produces a meaning of the landscape it draws, and draws out. From the modus of technical language that conveys a direct set of informations, notes, and notifications, drawings also at times transform to realms of reality - the drawing itself produces a reality or reveals the hidden sides of some.
As much as pictures document, and even bring to life a certain sense of the 'seen' world, drawings draw upon an understanding of how we see - the sensibility to breakdown every image into its elements and parts, to decide on their nearness or disappearing distance, to cull out an essential form and hence its basic entity, to regroup elements and objects into a cluster or landscape, arranged to make a picture, and tell a story. The actions of deconstructing and reconstructing-redrawing is an intellectual activity as much as it is a mechanical process; the actions of drawing - the life of that process - can, if encouraged and allowed, dwell on the sensibility and reality of objects and terrains that are being drawn. That dwelling on the sensibility and reality of objects and terrains being drawn - allows for a realisation, an awareness, of the objects 'seen' and lived along with - in ways that may rewrite the sensibilities and perceptions with which we began the journey of 'seeing' and 'drawing'. As pictures are mirrored/reflection-ed, cut up into details or miniatures, and arranged within a geometricised landscape, they regroup into a dream sequence of reality; the drawing of perspectival or orthographic material-topography over it begins to generate adream-meaning sequence, a set of scenarios that jostle within the simultaneity ofdream-production and meaning-making.
As much as the drawings consider the stuff of reality as their basis, and are then actually superimposed over pictures and photos of that reality, they seem to in fact produce a world that primarily exists within the drawn projection - the drawing is the reality while the photos underneath, morphed and mirrored, create some sense of an intoxicated reality no longer real. The reality of photos, and the material recognition of that landscape, and all in life that goes along with it produces a certain surreal 'lost-landscape of reality' - a reality so real that one finds it intoxicating, an almost a new parallel to reality but not real. The reality that is more recognisable now actually comes up and exists in the drawings - the fields of lines and forms, abstracted to their minimum representation, their materiality only expressed through clustering of lines. This reversal of representation and reality produces a measure of the urban that is palpable but not always evident - the roles of reality and representation - not as concepts, but as material worlds. The existing material world of grille-boxed windows, corrugated ground-planes, plastic-clad walls, water pipelines, and all is real. But at the rate this reality is produced - under conditions of pressure and skewed politics - its emphatic andobsessive-presence (which is then pictured, seen, photographed, lived) makes this existance surreal (and so is its representation) - especiallywhen it is the everyday life of millions of humans. In what ways does this surreal materiality exist alongside the diagrammatic imagination of cities drawn and chalked in clear shapes and forms, with ideal dreamworlds as projections towards a future that is soaring towards cleaner skies, rushing away from the muddy and muddled ground, and closer to the stars above than the clutter of Sintex tanks and dish TV antennae? The absurdity of the gap between the real and the projected is played out as drawings sit on photographs, measuring and deciphering a reality that is everyday and there, yet not acknowledged, recognisable but never accounted, never drawn out as a documentation of the life and cities we occupy - making reality - unreal. As the real and unreal, material and surreal, shape our spaces of existence and living, thenon-architectural architecture that shapes the city emerges in the concreteness of architectural drawings.
The sense of distance we adopt towards our everyday living, finding refuge in landscapes ofdream-trajectories, produces cities that exist (only) in the realms of near-fictional domains and topographies, while the everyday material world, with its material-reality gets relegated to a topography of denial, the urgent wish to de-recognise it out of some sense of shame or refutation. This space we exist (and live) in between insistent occupation of a projected fantasy and the hurried denial of the everyday reality produces citizens that have lost a sense of measure - the measure of what it means to participate in human worlds, life and death, reflections and arguments, files and books, sleepwalking and reading - we start living in delirious worlds! Morey's landscapes are an attempt to decipher these delirious worlds and cities we are all living in.