Word of Art

The Fiction of Colour: Review of Tanya Goel’s ‘Pause in a Flicker’ Art Exhibition at Nature Morte

The chaos in Tanya Goel's works strikes a harmonious balance with her rhythmic and varied layering.

Pause in a Flicker is an online exhibition by Delhi-born Tanya Goel on Nature Morte. The 35-year-old artist’s lenticular artworks were originally created for Julius Baer Lounge at Art Dubai, 2020. Due to the lockdown, her creations were not created physically. However, they have taken on an interesting form in an interactive digital realm. 

Lenticular prints are prepared graphics that are designed to work together with a lenticular lens that allows the viewer to see different images depending on the angle at which they view it. The image itself is a composite of two or more graphics that are interlaced together.

“Colour, for me, is fiction, and not a fact,” says Goel. The viewing room displays 12 Fractal artworks divided in two groups of six on the website. The page features an introduction, a message from the curator Peter Nagy, and a few notes about her Fractal works along with her previous exhibitions right at the end. 

The notes also explain that the artist makes her own pigments from a diverse array of materials including charcoal, aluminum, concrete, glass, soil, mica, graphite and foils, even those from sites of architectural demolitions.

The most fascinating aspect of the lenticular Fractal images is that you can hover your mouse and see the variety of detailed, dense and complex layers of bright colours that softly shift from one side to another. There’s a sense of fluidity in these works, almost as if with time she is also metamorphosing according to her environment and surroundings. 

A screenshot of Tanya Goel’s online exhibition

This is Goel’s first photography project. The lenticular works contain both horizontal and vertical images conveying modern histories of India. The lenticular nature and use of her own artworks make the photographs an alluring blend of technology and technique.  

Her notes on Fractal 4 explain the story behind the photos of a dahlia flower and snow-covered hydrangeas. These photographs and the notes about the hybrid species in our modern landscape make the viewer’s experience both informative and emotive. I had a desire to understand her intent and inspiration behind each image, which was sadly not provided on this page. 

Goel’s Fractal images are a puzzle. One does not know how many layers exist. Some display two photographs and three artworks, some vice versa. 

Her works appear illusionary and random and yet are also compact, naturalistic and deep. The chaos in her works strikes a harmonious balance with her rhythmic and varied layering. 

The only disappointing note about this online exhibition is that once you open an image individually in the viewing room, you can zoom in and out but hovering the mouse on the image does not yield any results. This interactive aspect is contained only on the main display page. It would have been quite satisfying if one could do so in the private viewing room too. 

For this exhibition, Nature Morte also collaborated with Artsounds and 12 Berklee alumni who created music for each lenticular film displayed here. This concept and its execution create a unique immersive experience for each individual, though they may not fit in with the viewer’s own take.

For instance, some images that I found calming had an upbeat sound quality attached to them. But in many cases, the music favoured the images really well, like a reversed manifestation of Wassily Kandinsky’s synesthesia of music and colour. 

The universe is abstract and Goel understands that. “I want the eye to rest on nothing,” she had once said at the opening of her 2019 exhibition This, The Sublime, and Its Double by Nature Morte in New York.

Her ritualistic process of experimentation, observation and repetition creates a new algorithm conveying the philosophy of seeing and playing. One can look, participate and enjoy the “fiction” of colour all in one go. She knows what matters.

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