The Rape

The Rape
The Rapesigned, inscribed, titled and dated THE RAPE 2005 2006 72 X 48 ENAMEL PAINT, SYNTHETIC VARNISH AND ACRYLIC EPOXY ON LAMINATE ATUL (on the reverse)
enamel paint, synthetic varnish and acrylic epoxy on laminate
182.8 x 121.9 cm. (72 x 48 in.)
Executed in 2005-2006
Vadehra Art Gallery, Saptapadi: Scenes from Marriage [regardless], New Delhi, India, 2007 (illustrated, p. 72).
New Delhi, India, Vadehra Art Gallery, Saptapadi: Scenes from Marriage [regardless], March 2007.
Moscow, Russia, 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, 2009.

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Lot Essay

Atul Dodiya, one of India's most celebrated contemporary artists, grapples with a range of histories and iconographies, mining from Surrealist, Dadaist, Photorealist, and anti-art aesthetics. As his biographer Ranjit Hoskote notes, "He wrestles with the anti-art impulse of Duchamp, assimilates Gerhard Richter's insistence on the practice of painting, adapts the vernaculars of popular art that splash themselves across the streets of every Indian metropolis." (R. Hoskote, Atul Dodiya, New Delhi, India, 2013, unpaged).

In this painting, Dodiya grafts the iconic, disturbing headless feminized torso of Rene Magritte's Le Viol of 1934 onto a surrealist fantasia. This work belongs to a larger series of twenty four paintings entitled Saptapadi: Scenes from Marriage (regardless) (2003-2006), which humorously and critically looks at the rites and institution of marriage in India. The pomp, ritual, and humdrum of the ceremony and the life that follows are all fodder for Dodiya's rich imagination and wry referentiality. Magritte's disturbing image is enshrined in the upper left, part of the d?cor in a domestic-marital scene. The female protagonist surreptitiously plucks hairs from the nearly bald pate of her unaware husband. Dressed in fashion from the turn of the twentieth century, both characters are located in an anterior dream-time, before the painting of Le Viol. Under a flattening glossy sheen, the references come together as a sort of pastiche - a highly cerebral yet compellingly beautiful exercise in cultural history.

Atul's s major exhibitions include his first mid-career retrospective, Experiments with Truth: Atul Dodiya, Works 1981-2013 at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (2013), and he has exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2008), The Peabody Essex Museum (2007), 51st Venice Biennale (2005), Asia Society Museum (2004), Yokohama Triennale (2001) and the Tate Modern (2001), among other major international venues.

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