Atul Dodiya (b.1959, India)

Pioneering the first generation of artists from India who identify themselves as postmodern and global, Atul Dodiya graduated from Bombay's JJ School of Art in 1982. He began his career painting autobiographically and primarily in a photo-realist mode, holding his firstsolo exhibition of oil paintings in 1989 at Gallery Chemould in Bombay.Dodiya's work accesses a rich vocabulary of stylistic and iconographic allusions from both Indian and Western art, along with imagery and ideas rootedin film, history, popular culture, and literature. He is renowned for use ofclever quotational tricks and compositional witticisms, along with anexceptional mastery over a full range of styles that encourage frequent improvisation and reinvention.

A year studying at the École des Beaux Arts inParis in 1991-2 nuanced Dodiya's engagement with international modernist and postmodernist art. While he was growing uninterested in the potential ofliteralist realism by this time, exposure to contemporary art that manipulated realist styles attracted Dodiya; he identified especially with Sigmar Polke's experimental multimedia subversions and David Salle's figurative pastiche.

Dodiya has drawn on Indian national politics throughout his career. In particular, he has continually remembered Gandhi and inscribed the leader's politics into his work. This culminated in a seminal exhibition of watercolors at Gallery Chemould in 1999, "Atul Dodiya: AnArtist of Non-Violence," with its title referring to a quotation by Gandhi himself.

In the past decade, Dodiya has transformed himself in painting and through other media and assemblage. In "Cracks in Mondrian," a 2005 exhibition held at Bose Pacia Gallery in New York, the artist appended white pipes to canvasses that translated Piet Mondrian's neo-plasticity, and which read also as distorted French colonial maps of India.More recently, an exhibition of installation art celebrating the memory of Bhupen Khakhar, Dodiya's departed friend and mentor, called "Sri Khakhar Prasanna," was held in Baroda. An expanded version of the show then inaugurated Chemould Prescott Road in February 2007.For summer 2007, Dodiya wasinvited to participate in Documenta 12, a prestigious international exhibitionthat occurs every five years in Kassel, Germany. Presented in the main exhibition hall, the artist's complete series Antler Anthology of 2003-4 juxtaposed original Gujarati poems with watercolor imagery abstracted alternately from daily life and from historical and contemporary Indian art.
(Beth Citron)

Dodiya, Atul b.1959

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