Prepare your stomach to drop when you enter Samara Golden’s dizzying installation at New York’s CANADA Gallery. The artist has glued 4 different “rooms” vertically to the walls of the gallery, shifting gravity 90 degrees. All photographs below have not been rotated or photoshopped in any way – this is ACTUALLY what the room looks like right-side-up.
A different room occupies each of the 4 gallery walls. The press release identifies them as a “country restaurant from the 1980’s, a wedding reception?, a hotel lobby and an apartment/bachelor pad”.
To REALLY throw visitors off balance (literally & figuratively), Samara has mirrored the entire floor of the gallery (the real floor) to give the illusion that you’re looking down 20-30 feet when you enter. An elevated footbridge distances you from the mirrors, making the vertigo stronger and the actual distance of the mirrors harder to discern.
Look close and notice that every chair is made out of silver insulation board. The brilliance of the installation is in its imperfections. Samara didn’t paint the rigid foam that makes up the furniture, allowing the printed logos and specifications on the material to remain (check out the chairs near the top of the image above), or notice that the clear lacquer holding the napkins and forks to the tables is too thick and sloppy to be invisible. Even the gridded seams of the mirrors break the illusion when you focus on them. And ALL of those “errors” only add to the joy of the experience. For me, one of the most fascinating things about looking at art is the ability and choice to shift from the reality of an object to the illusion of the image at any time, as if seeing a magic trick from the perspective of the audience and the magician simultaneously. Samara Golden so perfectly balances reality (foam) and fiction (gravity shifting 90 degrees) that she allows visitors to easily teeter-totter between the two. It’s a thrilling, dizzying, and sometimes pleasantly nauseating, great time. Go check it out!
All images Courtesy of CANADA. Photography by Jason Mandella.