Out of the blue

Indian artist Tanya Goel reveals the concept behind an intricate new painting

‘What interests me most about colour is that it’s not a fact, it is fiction,’ says Indian artist Tanya Goel, ahead of this year’s India Art Fair (taking place in New Delhi from 9 – 12 February) and with particular reference to a new painting on show there, Index 2. Her statement is justified: colour is warped and transformed by the light it’s viewed in, the time of day it’s observed and by a viewer’s subjective perception – the latter point tying directly into Goel’s overarching interest in the act of prolonged looking at and curation of an image.

In Index 2, this is manifested in an artwork of arduous mathematical precision: a densely layered piece concerned with residual processes, marking the ‘water level of the ground we stand on’. Three people were required to work on it, with a coordination of movement that sees an image created by snapping a neel-pigment-covered elastic thread against a canvas. It’s highly intricate stuff, the thread shifted up the board a millimetre at a time, creating appressed blocks of colour. It’s a work, the artist states, that ‘lies within the act of repetition and measuring’.