Interview: Janki Meera Dodiya
Luca Curci talks with Janki Meera Dodiya during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – THE SECRET GARDEN, at Misericordia Archives.
Currently living in Germany as a Professor in computer science, Janki Meera Dodiya born in India, is a self-taught artist and a fine art photographer. From observing the “Night” as a place instead of time, in her series “Strange place, the Night!”, to contemplating upon the abstract psychological constructs of identity in her upcoming work, Janki Meera’s work spans the subjects or manifestations that can be tangible as well as intangible, or their behaviour, or the phenomenon surrounding them. In consequence, parallel to process of scientific inquiry it is an attempt to eventually elicit an observation or a theory, and a work that can create an impact.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Janki Meera Dodiya – There are quite a few subjects that I am exploring for small and large projects, for instance one of the works stems from my current fascination with Japanese papers, one is focusing on the philosophies within artificial intelligence, and another embodies the concepts of psychology and contemplates on its parallels with eastern philosophies and practices such as Hinduism and Buddhism.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
JMD – I was born in India and studied computer science (CS) from India and UK. Currently I am based in Germany as Professor in CS and have been a researcher in the field for around 17 years now. As for Arts, I am a self-taught artist and was inclined to it since a young age. I just simply enjoy creative work and when it comes to my approach, I guess my research experience does seem to influence it. Engaging in it the way I do now was brought about by a health setback, that reduced my scientific workload and made room for art. But what made me bring it out of boundaries of my home would be the impact the aesthetic experiences created on me and others. On the other hand, if you ask what influences each individual work or project, it could be anything, sometimes it’s just some object that I find interesting and intrigues me, sometimes it’s a concept I came across or a phenomenon I experienced that I want to learn more about. In some way, art is not just a tool for expression but also comprehension. Eventually I am just hoping to create an impact, hopefully a positive one, that enables a dialogue within and outside.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
JMD – I think my style has expanded more than it has changed. I don’t think I have a set style yet and I do not wish to have that currently, I think it would defeat the purpose for me. Of course, I did start from traditional approaches, but I like this freedom of expression that comes with an interdisciplinary and even cross disciplinary approaches. I would like to continue working with different mediums and methods. With photography medium however, I have noticed my inclination to conceptual. What perhaps has changed though is that I have decided to try to take it slow as I can and maintain the focus on quality over quantity.
LC – What is your creative process like?
JMD – Inherently the process is quite intuitive. My research mindset influences it too, or perhaps there are just parallels existing between scientific and artistic approaches. Once I have a subject, I’d study it, let it simmer and churn in my head, try to understand or learn more about it if needed. Parallel or following it, are thoughts on the medium and style that may best represent it, this for me has become quite important, I believe it so closely represents the language of communication. Then reiterations in head and physically when needed, and once I have a good plan and direction on the idea, then the actual work starts.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
JMD – I guess decisions along the way could be challenging, you go back and forth with your ideas, what you want to focus on, the mediums, trial and errors, compromises and especially deciding when to stop. But you do make them eventually. So a challenge would be bringing the balance between your artistic vision or quality you want to achieve vs feasibility in terms of time and/or resources.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of pre-existing works?
JMD – It is a pre-existing work and still ongoing, I started it around mid-2018, and I would still like to continue exploring this subject further.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
JMD – So my work was presented within the theme “The Secret Garden” at the Contemporary Venice Festival, and so it’s quite appropriate thematically. As it explores the subject of flora and reveals a much less explored world of the night.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JMD – From what I have experienced and read online, ITSLIQUID as a platform about communication of art, has quite some international outreach and events. This effort helps increase the presence of artists and their works in the region of exhibition, among the art communities, as well as on social media. It was my first experience with you, and I have had a very good experience with your team preparing for this festival. They were very patient, answered all my queries and were supportive of the challenges I faced while sending my work.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
JMD – Indeed, due to your openness to artists around the world, it’s an opportunity for artist around the globe to have exposure outside in different regions. I do appreciate that you are also open to self-taught and emerging artists.