Exhibition room 6. Atul Dodiya

Through his paintings and assemblages, Atul Dodiya engages with both political and art history in a way that entwines global /public memory and local/personal experience. In his most recent series of paintings Dodiya appropriates the images and styles of famous artworks. By doing this he pays homage to his influences, but also ‘borrows’ their identities through a kind of painting role-play: copying becomes a form of ‘channelling’ or re-enactment, weaving the master’s identities and ideas to Dodiya’s own (and vice versa).

Source: The Saatchi Gallery www.saatchigallery.com/artists/atul_dodiya.htm

Sour Grapes is based on a chromolithograph of the sort widely used in India for illustrations on calendars. These images were considered divine by his religious family and therefore very important, and he was fascinated by the ways the figures and landscapes were rendered [...].

The subject is one of the greatest transformations in Hindu belief, the creation of the cosmos and of consciousness. Dodiya’s figure of Brahma is the only one not copied from the popular imagery: Dodiya uses the traditional conception of Brahma as a figure with four faces (enabling him to see in all directions at once) to leap from Hinduism to Cubism, and to introduce Picasso into the narrative. His conception of Brahma is based on Picasso’s 1939 portrait of Jaime Sabartés in the Museu Picasso’s collection.

Dodiya’s assumption of the role of Brahma—and for that matter of Picasso, since he is remaking a Picasso painting—constitutes a joke about an artist’s overweening egotism, even as it employs the principle of physical metamorphosis to meld disparate conceptions of creativity.

Source: exhibition catalogue for “Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions,” Michael FitzGerald