The five works that make up this exhibition, courtesy of Atul Dodiya (Mumbai, 1959), are made from shutters, a typical security system in shops and street businesses.
These pieces comprise one of the main bodies of the Indian artist's oeuvre: the disintegration of boundaries between the outside, the street, and the inside, galleries and museums. Equally, this also reflects the elimination of the lines of division between Fine Art and street art, with graffiti as the main point of reference.
The five pieces displayed make up part of a series comprising thirty works that are based on the concept of hybridisation. The starting point is the convergence of both Indian and Western visual and iconographic sources. Dodiya also employs formal and plastic resources belonging to Pop Art and taken from the world of comics; for instance, he includes quotations in his paintings and makes references to literature and film, all from a realism perspective.
Dodiya leads the revival in modern painting from India through figuration and uses these supports to explore and represent the mechanisms that construct Indian identity. In this subversion of the canvas as a traditional pictorial support, the shutters form the surface that frame his narrations and particular synthetic illustrations of modern Indian culture. Therefore, Dodiya uses popular imagery from his country and develops compositions that superimpose and mix real and iconic elements. That said, these works are not just an ostentatious representation of Indian culture, nor a simple catalogue of names and figures with a media or historical profile, such as Gandhi, or invented characters or animals. The selection and representation of each one responds to the experience and memory of the artist and his critical approach to popular culture.
As the exhibition's curator, Enrique Juncosa, points out, “the characters are always alone and occupying ambiguous spaces, generally appearing to have problems or to be up to their necks in arduous tasks”.
As a result, more than witnessing fantastical and purely aesthetic drawings, viewers find themselves faced with unsettling and embittered figures deliberately constructed by the artist.