Critics’ Picks

Atul Dodiya, Grace, 2013, watercolor on paper, 22 x 15".

Atul Dodiya, Grace, 2013, watercolor on paper, 22 x 15".

Hong Kong

Atul Dodiya

10 Chancery Lane Gallery
10 Chancery Lane, SoHo, Central Ground Floor
November 20, 2013–February 18, 2014

Indian artist Atul Dodiya showcases his wit and range, as well as his preoccupation with art history, in his first Hong Kong solo exhibition, “Duplicator’s Dilemma.” The show features his signature paintings made upon metal shutter doors (which conceal canvases underneath), as well as new works on paper. Mirror, Stretcher, and Eyes (all works 2013) have Roy Lichtenstein reproductions on their exteriors. Each security shutter—a ubiquitous object in Mumbai’s urban landscape—rolls up via a remote-controlled motor to reveal equally vibrant canvasses beneath that mesh Lichtenstein’s familiar Pop art style with Dodiya’s own lexicon of symbols and imagery.

In contrast, the watercolor paintings, depicting off-kilter human forms, seem subtle and unassuming. Upon close inspection they reveal Dodiya’s technical brilliance within the medium, as well as a singular point of view. The watercolor Runner juxtaposes a skewed, sprinting figure with a depiction of what appears to be Lucio Fontana’s 1960 canvas Concetto spaziale, Attesa (Spatial Concept, Waiting). In Grace, a one-armed, nude female figure—with parts of her skeletal system exposed—reclines in an awkward pinup position, her body floating above a black blob. While her legs, folded to the side, hide her vagina, her anus is quietly on display—a moment that seems exquisite rather than vulgar, due to Dodiya’s precise brushstrokes as well as his overall aesthetic. The bold shutter pieces may be more striking, but it’s the delicate watercolor paintings that lend the exhibition a transcendent quality.