Samara Golden: The Rape of the Mirror


"Feeling shipwrecked on a continental island, Night Gallery fakes her own death to escape into Samara Golden's shining sea of blue light and infinite horizon.

In her upcoming solo exhibition 'Rape of The Mirror,' Golden is the storm maker. Her hypothetical cyclone suspends in rotation the rooms of a demolished fantasy; reflecting back hurled pieces of styrofoam that once were the bricks of a dream home. As with Golden's previous work, 'Rape of The Mirror' is an active vortex to an emotionally complex multiverse. SHE is the eye of the tornado.

Inspired by movies such as The Long Goodbye and American Gigolo, Golden constructs an architecture of luxury made entirely of silver insulation material known as Thermax. Reflective furniture, a silver-plated jacuzzi and a queen-sized bed fitted with light blue sheets occupy the gallery space. A video of breaking waves crashes over the installation, illuminating the darkness while stretching the space to the other side of the earth. The gathering gloom watch as lights fade from every room with Golden's perpetual state of sunset plaguing the scene with a foreboding pink hue. Night Gallery is reborn as an ocean side villa dangling from a cliff in the sixth dimension.

'Rape of The Mirror' is a continuation of Golden's investigation of cyclical video-voyeurism as she presents the viewer with multiple perspectives using three cameras and two projectors. These technical mediations, combined with her homespun sculptures-of-deceit, create the Mirage of love. Blue is red and yellow is clear. Adhered to the gallery's back wall, atop a lattice of shelves, is a crying eye that looks upon this domestic setting and sees a house of broken glass transformed into a funhouse made of poor-(wo)man's mirrors.

Night Gallery anticipates her rebirth as a Thermax poem spanning different media and time sculpted by our Mother thunderstorm Samara Golden." [1]

"Rape of the Mirror": Bedroom installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

"Rape of the Mirror": Bedroom installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

"Rape of the Mirror essentially remakes Night Gallery into two cracked fantasy rooms: a lounge with Jacuzzi and ocean view, and an interior master bedroom. Powder blue carpeting has been installed throughout the gallery, and the walls have been painted a similar color. Tall, empty, Ikea-style bookshelves loom everywhere. A few strange tchotchkes populate the bedroom; a single eye peers into the "window" of the lounge, which is also outfitted with an elaborate stereo system.

It's all very plush on the surface, but look closer and the whole shebang falls apart; almost all of the objects are created out of R-Max, a thin and flimsy foam board that's used to insulate homes. Give one of the shelves the lightest push and it'll fall over; try to sit on the bed and it will promptly cave in. The artifice here is touching -- it's as though a child has worked really hard to make the adult dollhouse of her dreams. Folded into this sense of longing is a sinister streak as well; violent scratches mar the surface of the bed, and the sheets dissolve into a shattered mirror, reflecting images from two video screens. On the sound system, Golden's voice can be heard singing a version of Brian Wilson's melancholy '’Til I Die.'" [2]

[LEFT] "Rape of the Mirror" Beachside installation (detail), 2011; Mixed media and Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery [RIGHT] "Rape of the Mirror": Stereos (detail), 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

[LEFT] "Rape of the Mirror" Beachside installation (detail), 2011; Mixed media and Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery [RIGHT] "Rape of the Mirror": Stereos (detail), 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

"Rape of the Mirror": Bedroom installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

"Rape of the Mirror": Bedroom installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

"Video feeds, positioned throughout the installation, play a key role. The large projection in the lounge gives the illusion of crashing waves outside of a window, while two projections in the bedroom spool through every image and video taken on Golden's iPhone in the last year. Others are live interactive feeds, providing opportunities for you to see yourself or others embedded within the artwork; Golden uses a nifty green screen effect so that captured bodies become canvases for projections. Overall, the video feeds function like wormholes enabling transportation and dialogue throughout the installation.

It's clear that this work is highly personal, but it's also highly absorbing. Golden has helpfully provided a comfortable sofa between these two rooms, so that viewers can have a leisurely place to sit and contemplate the work. This helps with soaking in the work's subtle details, and it also makes you feel like you're in it, like you're part of the movie set that the artist has created. Golden has been making interactive video/sculpture installations for some time, but this one feels more open and expansive than her previous efforts. Rape of the Mirror quietly invites you into its world, then takes you into others if you're willing." [2]

[LEFT] "Rape of the Mirror": Beachside installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Max Schwartz [RIGHT] "Rape of the Mirror": Beachside installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

[LEFT] "Rape of the Mirror": Beachside installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Max Schwartz [RIGHT] "Rape of the Mirror": Beachside installation, 2011; Mixed media and Live Video; Installation view at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Photo: Courtesy of Night Gallery

TEXT [1] BY SAMARA GOLDEN, TAKEN FROM NIGHT GALLERY'S ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE, NOVEMBER 2011; TEXT [2] BY CAROL CHEH, TAKEN FROM LA WEEKLY, 11.22.2011; ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST