ANJU DODIYA | ATUL DODIYA | JITISH KALLAT | HEMA UPADHYAY
Booth No 1D26 | Hall 1
In this series of watercolors Anju Dodiya explores the human self through the experience of
her own interiority. What results is a ‘fictional self’ whose elusive images are captured in
concrete forms. Embedded in enigmatic, not easily decipherable narratives this ‘fictional
self’ assumes the role of a warrior, martyr, pilgrim or simply artist who faces the classical
dilemma of confronting the empty canvas.
In many of her works Anju Dodiya narrates the tragic/heroic aspirations of death by
displaying rigor and tension. Often the dark realm of private emotions is counteracted by the
scientific accuracy and objectivity of medical drawings. The suite of watercolors with their
fine delineation of charcoal are exuberant in their rendition of what haunts the artist’s
imagination. Instead of standing in contradistinction to one another, they rather complement
one another, producing a tension between the graphic and the painterly.
Atul Dodiya presents an installation that properly realizes the cross-over of personal
archive, art-history anthology and wonder-room. The wonder-room (‘Wunderkammer’) as a
prototype of the museum assembles a variety of objects that produce peculiar
morphologies. Following this tradition Atul’s ‘hero-trophies’ mounted on wall shelves recall
the excessive encyclopaedic urge with which the owners of the ‘wonder-rooms’ collected
and displayed artifacts.
Atul Dodiya’s ‘wonder-room’ takes the form of an ancestral portrait gallery with the most
famous icon Marcel Duchamp looking like a ‘fallen angel’. The artist acts as an archivist,
‘arranger’ and collector, whose work pays homage to the artistic ancestry, yet ironizes the
glorification and mystification of the revered idols. The installation is complemented by a
luminous watercolor that witnesses the sensual play of figures and their temporal
Hema Upadhyay’s panels represent an almost empty white space. When closely looked at it
turns into a vast landscape whose granular texture is that of long grain rice glued on
handmade paper. Some of the grains of rice carry the handwritten quotation "Whether it's
the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got." Quotations on life by
philosophers and spiritual leaders are commonly printed as a means of inspiration to invoke
philosophical thoughts from the reader. We encounter them in books, newspapers, schools,
churches, and other public spaces.
They are of metaphysical or spiritual content and cathartic in their nature, taking the reader
away from the space and putting him in a reflective mood. These quotations are written in
minuscule letters evoking the works of miniature painters whose intricacies can only be fully
explored by using a magnifying glass. The same is provided with each panel and invites the
viewer to search for the quotations that meander like rivers in a landscape.
In a series of works in various media, such as light box, photography, lenticular, and video
Jitish Kallat explores the formal and semantic analogies of planetary forms and food. The
artist uses the ‘roti’, the Indian bread and a staple diet, to represent the waxing and waning
of the moon.
Food serves as a metaphor of sustenance, there one day and vanishing the next, much like
the cycle of the moon that oscillates between abundance and dearth. The rotis are
reminiscent of planetary bodies in general that are traveling like stellar remnants through the
‘Re-Take on Amrita’ are digital photomontages based on photographs by Umrao Sher-Gil
and the Sher-Gil family archive. The photomontages have an unsettling power evoking a
melancholic past and seductive cultural milieu. The ‘characters’ in these photomontages are
Umrao Singh, Vivan Sundaram’s grandfather, the ‘patriarchal photographer in the family’
and his talented daughters Amrita, one of India’s pre-eminent modern painters, and Indira.
Umrao Sher-Gil was famous for his hypnotic self-portraits. Contrary to their expression of
inner contemplation the photographs he took from Amrita show her forcefully and directly
looking into the camera. Vivan Sundaram uses the existing photographs to construct the
relationship between father and daughter, artist and model as envisioned by him. He brings
them to life by recomposing images of different times instead of preserving them as
historical relics. He also uses archival photographs taken by Amrita’s husband which are
more snapshot like and informal, witnessing proximate sensuousness, female sexuality, and
Re-Take of Amrita -TAKE