13 rooms in In the Studio
Atul Dodiya’s Meditation (with open eyes) pays tribute to artists and cultural figures who have inspired him
Dodiya has assembled a range of portraits and objects which relate to his upbringing and artistic development. They are arranged in glass cabinets that resemble museum showcases but also recall personal displays of souvenirs and sentimental items that are particularly common in Indian homes. The cabinets also act as shrines, celebrating the lives of these inspirational figures.
The portraits on the upper level include artists Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeois, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso, as well as poet Rabindranath Tagore. There is a detail from Henri Rousseau’s painting Portrait of a Child and an image of actors Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan from the Bollywood film Anand 1971. The objects range from the sacred to the everyday. Copies of artworks by other artists as well as those made by Dodiya sit next to photographs, miniature figurines, and incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu. There are quotations from American painter Jasper Johns, Bengali poet Sunil Gangopadhyay and French writer André Gide.
Two of the cabinets include tributes to the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. These relate to Dodiya’s first direct encounter with Mondrian’s paintings during a visit to Tate Modern in 2001. He noticed the cracks on the surface of the paintings, a detail not visible in printed reproductions. The cracked surface reminded him of the damaged landscape of his native state of Gujarat in India, where a major earthquake had just taken place. Mondrian’s painting Composition B (No.II) with Red is displayed here alongside Dodiya’s work.
Curated by Priyesh Mistry
Piet Mondrian, Composition B (No.II) with Red 1935
Mondrian’s pursuit of a new spirituality and a new art for the modern world was fundamental to the modernist art movement. Here he reduces his colour to a single red rectangle, giving the black lines greater importance as compositional elements. The structure is slightly off-set, reflecting his opposition to the ‘false ease’ of symmetry in favour of ‘the dynamic equilibrium of true life’, for which he sought a pictorial equivalent.
Gallery label, November 2015
Image released under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported)
artworks in Atul Dodiya
Atul Dodiya, Meditation (with open eyes) 2011
Meditations (With Open Eyes) 2011 is an installation that comprises three wooden cabinets with glass fronts, with artworks and objects placed both inside and on top. In them the Indian artist Atul Dodiya has assembled an assortment of objects, much in the manner of traditional cabinets of curiosities found in historic collections and museums. The dense, slightly informal arrangement of the objects gives the work the appearance of a series of personal shrines, similar to the humble glass cabinets common in middle-class Indian homes which preserve souvenirs and items based on emotional rather than material value: photos, travel memorabilia, toys and gifts, religious icons and the like. The title of the work suggests conscious memory and the contemplation of objects that trigger recollections. The cabinets are arranged in a row, mounted on the wall, and the central one is slightly taller than the two flanking it on either side. Dodiya had previously worked with museological-style displays in works, referencing and paying tribute to the Indian nonviolent activist and nationalist icon Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi (1869–1948) and fellow artist Bhupen Khakhar (1934–2003). An early example was Broken Branches 2003, in which Dodiya was inspired by the dusty cases containing personal effects and memorabilia in the regional museum about Gandhi in the small town of Porbandar. The particular iteration of cabinets in Meditations (With Open Eyes) is more autobiographical and relates closely to Dodiya’s own art practice.
artworks in Atul Dodiya