Atul Dodiya

Broken Branches
April 17 - May 31, 2003
New York

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April 2003 New York - Bose Pacia Gallery presents Broken Branches, a solo exhibition of new work by Atul Dodiya from April 17 through May 31, 2003. The gallery is located at 508 West 26th Street on the 11th Floor, in the Chelsea district of New York City. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm and by appointment. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, April 17th from 6 to 8pm. The public is invited.

Through a combination of museum cabinet installations and monumental works on paper, Broken Branches seeks to explore the payments exacted by the violence of political history. Whether addressing the brutal repercussions of Partition in South Asia over half a century ago or the recent attacks waged in the name of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, Atul Dodiya probes the nature of suffering and disfigurement in spheres both private and public, past and present.

Inspired by the colonial-style vitrines found at the museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi in Porbandar, India, Dodiya constructed similar wooden cabinets with glass panels to display an assemblage of found and created objects. The cabinets in the Porbandar museum were deliberately designed to slant on top in order to prevent intrusive birds from setting up residence on each. Dodiya alludes to the original functionality of the form with a tongue-in-cheek gesture: an image of a bird placed atop each vitrine, precisely where it is forbidden. Within each cabinet, one finds additional images through tea-stained photographs, small watercolors and etchings as well as a disturbing array of prosthetics, crutches and human bones. Each of the objects bears witness to personal tragedy and bodily injury; as an assemblage, each cabinet serves as a profound testament to communal suffering and loss.

Confronted with sepia-toned visuals and antique artificial limbs locked behind glass, one is made acutely aware of the irrevocable nature of historical past. Sanitized and compartmentalized and enshrined, the memorabilia of violence is lent a perversely sacred quality; the distance of time and physical space offers us the luxury of purveying these remains with something akin to nonchalance. Yet as one's reflection appears in the glass and is juxtaposed with faded fragments of destruction, the viewer is forced to accept and assume his role in the assemblage – to acknowledge that the present was borne of history. As globalization continues its unfettered course across the new century and current events unfold, history threatens to repeat itself and exact new payments. An apt and timely offering, the objects of Broken Branches are presented by Atul Dodiya as "emblems of vigil against indifference and amnesia (Gulammohammed Sheikh)."

Atul Dodiya was born in Bombay in 1959, graduating from the Sir J. J. School of Art in Bombay in 1982. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in India and abroad, most recently at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. He has also participated in several international group exhibitions such as Secular Practice: Recent Art from India, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2002); Capital & Karma: Recent Positions in Indian Art, Kunsthalle, Vienna (2002); New Indian Art: Home-Street-Shrine-Bazaar-Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester (2002); and Century City: Art & Culture in the Modern Metropolis, Tate Modern, London (2001). His works are in several private and public collections in India and abroad. This is his first exhibition with Bose Pacia.