New Delhi art. Vadehra Art Gallery presents Imagined Immortals, Anju Dodiya’s latest solo show at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi. Testament to the significance of the exhibition, Imagined Immortals has been scheduled to open from 18 January – 14 February 2015, coinciding with India Art Fair and during the busiest month of India’s cultural calendar.
Considered one of the most important contemporary artists in India, Anju Dodiya’s much anticipated exhibition will be her first solo show in Delhi since Necklace of Echoes at Vadehra Art Gallery in 2010. Having exhibited widely in India and abroad, in 2009 Dodiya was selected to show at the prestigious Venice Art Biennale and this is now her fourth solo show for Vadehra Art Gallery.
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. Originally, the medical illustration was designed to satisfy our curiosity of the body, but here it is a playground to explore the transience of life and the immense human desire to defeat death.
“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 surprise, and a lie. Because we go on… and on.” Anju Dodiya, 2014
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. According to Dodiya, “the figuration mimics that of medieval European illustrations and the narrative is formed by abstract symbols of immortality like the therapeutic creepers, honeycombs, peach blossoms and for the artist – her studio paraphernalia: her brush.” 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 and imperceptible knots.