Through his paintings and assemblages, Atul Dodiya engages with both political and art history in a way that entwines global /public memory and local/personal experience. In his most recent series of paintings Dodiya appropriates the images and styles of famous artworks. By doing this he pays homage to his influences, but also ‘borrows’ their identities through a kind of painting role-play: copying becomes a form of ‘channelling’ or re-enactment, weaving the master’s identities and ideas to Dodiya’s own (and vice versa). Fool’s House is a tribute to Jasper Johns, the American pop artist renowned for painting generic graphic motifs such as targets, maps and text fonts. The fragmented composition of this painting – divided into rectangular shapes – references the design typical of Johns; the segments of the canvas contain quotes of a Johns map and target. Dodiya first came to prominence with his paintings done on roll down security shutters, and in this work he imprints his own history upon his hero’s, re-conceiving Johns’s international abstraction as a local shop front. The ‘taped photographs’ in the scene make reference to Johns’s 1984 painting Racing Thoughts which used this device to quip famous artworks such as the Mona Lisa; in Fool’s House, one of Dodiya’s snap shots contains an image of Manray’s Cadeau, emphasising his painting as an offering or gift.

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