Inner dialogue with the self

immortal world

Imagined Immortals’ an exhibition showcasing the work of Anju Dodiya will be held at the Vadehra Art Gallery from next week.

Considered among the prominent contemporary artists in India, Dodiya’s exhibition will be her first solo show in Delhi after being selected at the prestigious Venice Art Biennale.

The works in Imagined Immortals are part of a new body of work executed over the course of the past year and are to be exhibited to the public for the first time. The exhibition includes mixed media artworks executed on the printed pages of the reproduction of old medical illustrations.

According to the organisers, originally, the medical illustration was designed to satisfy the ‘curiosity of the body’, but became a playground to explore ‘the immense human desire to defeat death’.

“The artist’s exploration of the body under assault, its fragility, its pain and a structuring of that pain are visible in many of her works. The transparent, ghost-like images populating the artist’s picture plane are usually layered and seem to float between two worlds. By turning the printed pages of a medical illustration book into her canvas, Dodiya further solidifies the relation between the living and the dead, tying them in visible knots,” the organisers told Metrolife.

“Imagined Immortals explores mortality, the fragile nature of the human body and the heroic aspirations that keep it going. We grant immortality to the beings we choose to remember - our mothers, our daughters, our heroines, our goddesses, our artists, our lovers. We forget our own mortal nature in the mundane cycles of giving and taking. Death is always a surpris and a lie,” says Dodiya.

According to the Mumbai-based artist, the figuration mimics that of medieval European illustrations and the narrative is formed by abstract symbols of immortality. Working predominantly with water-colours, the artist’s works are multi-layered with simplicity of line and form. Her visual lexicon draws influence from the Renaissance masters to Japanese Ukiyo-e prints. Dodiya’s practice has often been described as self-portraiture, the artist chooses to refer to it as “fictional self portrait.”

 The exhibition is on view from January 17 till February 14 at Vadehra Art Gallery from 11 am to 7 pm. Sunday closed.

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