Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The self forms core of Anju Dodiya’s art

The self is quite often at the core of artist Anju Dodiya’s thought provoking works that explore various possibilities embedded within it. Her art practice is strongly rooted in the figurative.

Deliberating in detail on her ‘sometimes whimsical play on the self- portrait’, an essay in The International Herald Tribune, has noted: “Originally a collage artist, she hoards faces, particularly those in states of extreme emotion. A box of clippings in her bookshelf includes news photographs of mourners, bombing victims etc.

"She also confesses to staring at faces on Mumbai's commuter trains, a boon for any artist in pursuit of extreme expression. Marriage aside, you find little mutual influence in the works of Atul and Anju Dodiya. He welcomes the sensory bombardment of his country; she is a dedicated student of the interior." She has widely exhibited her work in India and internationally, including 'All Night I Shall Gallop', Bodhi Art, Singapore, Mumbai, New York and Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI, 2008); ‘The Throne of Frost’, Bodhi, Mumbai (2007); and ‘The Throne of Frost’, Baroda (2007); Bose Pacia, NY (2006).

Among her selected group exhibitions are 'India: Take Three', Kings Road Gallery, Chelsea (2009); 'Progressive to Altermodern', Grosvenor Gallery, London (2009); ‘Everywhere Is War (and Rumors of War)’, Bodhi, Mumbai (2008); 'Modern & Contemporary Indian Art', Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi (2008); 'Of Personal Narratives And Journeys', Bodhi, Gurgaon (2009); and ‘Here and Now: Young Voices from India’, Grosvenor Vadehra, London (2007) among other shows.

Anju Dodiya also formed part of the ambitious ‘India Xianzai’ (India Now) show at Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MoCA), Shanghai last year. The artist also showcased her multimedia triptych ‘Seasons’ at the Venice Biennale.  Her keenness to experiment and challenge the conventional was evident in her site-specific installation at the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodora.

In her lavish ‘Throne of Frost’, minimalist charcoal and watercolors contrasted with the usage of richly textured fabric, succinctly capturing the opposing forces of power and destruction, wealth and decay. The palace inspired her images like a woman weighed down by an embellished box and a lonesome king.

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