Samara GoldenSixth Dimension

photography by Ben Pier
interview by Rebecca Brickman


Samara Goldman by Ben Pier

Complex and multifaceted installations, in which disparate objects and media depend on one another to maintain an active exchange within fantastically complex dreamlike spaces.

I have been blown away by Samara Golden’s use of space since I first encountered her work at Marvelli Gallery in 2009. That exhibition, most effectively titled There’s more but it’s invisible, has given way to increasingly complex and multifaceted installations, in which disparate objects and media depend on one another to maintain an active exchange within fantastically complex dreamlike spaces. Golden’s The Flat Side of the Knife, on view in MoMA PS1’s Duplex Gallery through August 2015, seamlessly synthesizes a highly decorated physical space with its mirror image, extending the work infinitely through its reflection.

The uncanny result of the combination of corporeal and hallucinatory space is echoed and amplified by the objects that adorn the installation (and their reflections).  Collected from thrift stores and cut from silvery Rmax insulation board, fake plants, musical instruments, staircases, a wheelchair and a bedroom set appear familiar and ghostlike – further contributing to the vertiginous nature of the total environment. Upon viewing the installation, I could not help but think of it as a more ethereal, private and otherworldly Piranesi prison.

An exhibition of Golden’s work will open in September 2015 at CANADA in New York. I am extraordinarily grateful to have had the opportunity to correspond with her earlier this spring, to ask a few questions about her use of mirrors, the “sixth dimension,” and the objects in her installations:

RB: Can you talk about your use of mirrors as a means of altering physical space? Do you view the spaces created in these mirrors as alternative realities?
SG: Mirrors are a way to expand or to create impossible space, space you can see but never have access to. I think of the space that they create as thoughts that can’t be materialized, like a looming feeling when you can’t remember a dream but you almost can. I view the space as a parallel to our reality, like a place in the mind or a physical manifestation of a place that can’t exist on earth.




RB: I’m always interested to see the objects in your installations. Do you select these individually or as parts of a whole? Do you view the online marketplace as a medium or as a tool?
SG: I select objects or decide on things I want to make based on a vague vision that I have of what I want the thing to feel like. I view the “online marketplace” as a reluctant tool. Lately I think my eyes are burning, I miss getting information about the world from talking to friends, I miss the way thrift stores used to be before everyone learned to monetize everything. That said, I like the visual almanac quality of the Internet – I used to really love illustrated encyclopedias. Online, you can see the whole history of an object at once. You can look up “chair,” and see styles from all over the world at all time periods. It’s pretty amazing to see all the variations next to each other.

RB: What is the sixth dimension?
SG: The idea of the sixth dimension was a way of explaining how to enter my work for myself. I was interested in the idea that many times and places could exist in the same space, i.e. that an installation could be a conduit for something beyond what it appears to be, something that pierces through time. It’s usually understood that the past, present, and future are linear; the idea of the sixth dimension, to me, is that all of those times and places could be piled onto each other and happening simultaneously in one location.

RB: How has your practice evolved in the past 5 years, and where do you see it moving? Have you recently adopted any new techniques or materials?
SG: I’ve gotten better at having faith in the process. I know now that where I start is not where I end up, and that the process is what is beautiful about making things. If you can learn something from or be surprised by your own work then I think you are lucky.

I use different materials at intervals so that there is a balance and I don’t feel like I’m repeating myself, so one project feels different from the last. This year I started sewing more; I made animals for the Mass Murder show [at Night Gallery] and made life-size human figures for my Frieze project. I also used anaglyphic (red blue 3d) photo-sculpture in 2 installations. I’ve been using Rmax to make objects with much more detail, and resin to make things stronger. I’m interested in trying to get better at the sound and lighting aspects of the work, and in making the video aspects higher quality. Right now I scrap the AV side together, and it would be great to continue with that sentiment, but have the actual moving images come together a little more.


Always smile at the mask of hate for it covers a sad face, 2015