PR Daroz is one of India’s foremost ceramic artists. His diverse oeuvre over 50 years—pots, sculptures, architectural installations—covers a large body of work. His pieces and architectural installations adorn important public spaces, hotels and corporate offices of major companies across the country. We were approached to design a book to document and exhibit PR Daroz’s life in ceramic art.
Every artist goes through phases of evolution—in their choice of material and medium, the forms and objects of their creations, their scale and context.
PR Daroz’s journey is similar, but has greater significance. It runs parallel to the evolution of ceramics as a recognised art form in India.
Daroz has played an important part in the field’s growth from relative obscurity to earning a place of importance in the culture and art scene, and in national policy.
We wanted the book to chronicle and do justice to three simultaneous journeys—the artist’s, his growing oeuvre and art form.
Through our conversations with the artist we came to a better understanding and greater appreciation of his work, his love of clay and ceramics and the art form’s place in Indian cultural and art history.
We divided the book into five chapters. Each chapter documents a distinct creative phase of his practice. Starting from his love of clay, moving on to show his exploration of the vessel form, experiments with large murals and architectural scale installations.
There is a chapter on his innovations in the use of locally sourced translucent porcelain—techniques that he pioneered while trying to use locally sourced materials.
In the final chapter you get to know the artist intimately. The chapter discusses his creative journey, following his roots in Hyderabad to his education and practice in Vadodara, Delhi and Bhopal.
His work spans in scale and concept, from utilitarian objects the size of houseware to monumental architectural installations, the book had to do justice to this varying scale and scope of work.
Design and Layout
The book is heavy and substantial—much like Daroz’s art. The reader’s interaction with Daroz’s art and elements begins at the cover. The cover appears sculpted and grand. It is textured, the colour is not uniform, akin to his art pieces—there is a natural variance.
The metallic text and gilded edges are a reference to the artist’s innovative use of metallic glazes and give the book a sculpted form and feel.
Moving on, the first few pages introduce you to the artists’ work, in an incomplete way, as if they were viewing the piece up close. It is not revealed in its totality, there is no colour. The focus is on the material, the texture, scale and form. An intimate introduction and stage setting for what’s to follow.
The start of each chapter is marked by an expansive separator. A specific colour gradient flows across the separator, giving it a sense of void before Daroz’s art starts filling the space—a departure from the standard photo or art book archetype.
The images are treated so that they themselves tell a continuous story. Every art series is introduced gradually, moving from individual elements to the whole through multiple shots. Multiple folds and full page images give the work a sense of scale.
We wanted the book to give the reader ‘a viewing’ experience, rather than a reading one.
Departing from the standard, again, we removed all captions from the images in the book, to reduce distortions, they were compiled in an index at the end.
There are no page numbers, the photographs drive the narrative, and their serial number replaces the page numbering.
Daroz’s quotations and observations on the materials, the art form and his own work is captured in snippets that dot the book and marked with his signature symbol—it is here that the artist speaks to the reader directly.
The book was launched at Daroz’s exhibit at the India Art Fair, 2022. It was positively reviewed by major publications, lauded as a biography of not just the artist but of ceramic art in India.
Many artists, critics and curators commented that the book gracefully walks the tightrope of being an art object and a document at the same time.
the artist and his art: journey of a lifetime
PR Daroz is one of the country’s eminent ceramic artists. His diverse oeuvre includes vessels, sculptures to architectural installations—varying in form and scale. Over a 50 year practice he has contributed to the acceptability of ceramics as a respected art form. We were approached to design a book that could do both—document and exhibit PR Daroz’s life in clay.
a guided, sensorial tour through the years
The reader is taken on a tour of Daroz’s work, in the way he intended. The artist’s creative phases are chronicled in detail. The materials, motivations and manifestations are given due space and time. The senses are engaged to appreciate the texture, the scale and the materiality of ceramic art. Sensible grouping presents similar related work continually. Individual elements from his artworks gradually lead to the whole.
the oeuvre: a study in scale and scope
His work spans in scale and concept, from utilitarian objects the size of houseware to monumental architectural installations. The images are treated to show the scale of his work—from a small pot to three storied murals.
an invitation to commune with the artist and his art
The reader meets the man behind the artist and materials behind the art in this work. The book is dotted with reminisces of Daroz’s many influences, his earliest days and his travels through cities and artistic phases—these have been placed to greet the user as they proceed with the book. His dialogue on the art and the materials is especially valuable to anyone with even a lateral interest in Indian art and its history.
partner-in-charge & creative director itu chaudhuri | design concept, development ashok dey | cover design ashok dey | printing & production guide ashok dey | image correction mitul grover | webpage photographer abhishek ghosh, sneha mahajan, pradyut nath | project duration 5 months