Atul Dodiya's Cracks in Mondrian-Hyderabad combines industrial PVC piping with cartographic renderings of ancient Indian provinces superimposed on a Mondrian-like grid. The Cracks in Mondrian series consists of nine works that "touch the pristine and sublime tightness of minimalist abstraction with the horror and terror of contemporary times." (Anupa Mehta, "Painter's Painter: Atul Dodiya," India 20 - Conversations with Contemporary Artists, 2007, p. 42) The resulting postmodern pastiche exemplifies the artist's highly intellectual approach to making art, a conceptual exercise with inspirations ranging from De Stijl to Hindu mythology combined with an acute awareness of the ever-changing socio-political landscape of postcolonial India.
The luminous pink patch in the lower left-hand quadrant represents Hyderabad - a Mughal suba (province), a former princely state, and still the most populous city in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. A leitmotif of the series, this seemingly fluid, fluorescent shape (drawn from a rendition of the suba in an 18th-century atlas) gives into a network of marble dusted gray cracks and blotches that subvert the painterly order imposed by the "Western" grid. This imagery, framed by drainage pipes, is strikingly reminiscent of inner city building facades with their rapidly repaired cracks and leakages.
This work is a fine example of the irony and political consciousness that pervades Dodiya's oeuvre.