by Rahul KumarMay 04, 2022
Kiran Nadar Museum of Art re-opened after a yearlong pause of holding onsite exhibitions owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key shows launched recently was works produced by the artist Atul Dodiya in response to the isolated living during the past two years. Walking with the Waves looks at a body of intimate and small-format watercolour paintings. They provide for experiencing the artist’s vision as he had to retreat to his inner world, his sanctuary. Dodiya had a fund of time at hand while quarantined at home, and thus began his exploration of the world outside, one, which is rooted in the real. Familiar sights from his morning walks transformed into magical landscapes with faceless mystic figures engaged in otherworldly gesticulations, and the pervasive city disappearing from the configurations. Eventually, as the simple act of daily morning walks became precarious, the works presented at the exhibition became his emotional response.
Dodiya is known for his large scale works that most often use photo-real imagery. This sudden and forced interlude presented an opportunity for him to transition from the imposing to the fragile. References from books, cinema, and art that he had engaged with, have been a significant constituent in his art, yet this time Dodiya finds himself ‘tapping a less busy but more innocent wellspring inside him’.
Roobina Karode, Director and Chief Curator of the museum, explains, “…Dodiya explores not just the ‘small-scale’ but also newer forms of techniques in these works. In what can be considered as mindscapes, these watercolours are quiet but playful introspections into the creation of spaces, forms, transmutations, and transformations. An attentive selection from almost 270 works from the series, the exhibition will introspect on the idea of this ‘space of innocence and freedom’ as Dodiya puts it. The waves of turmoil and the waves of change are perhaps the only perpetuity of human existence and the world around that these works inform.