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samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

from from september 10, 2020 through january 31, 2021, the eighth floor gallery at the fabric workshop and museum (FWM) in philadelphia becomes an expansive post-disaster seaside scene thanks to an all-encompassing, reflective installation by samara golden. ‘upstairs at steve’s’ is an elaborate artwork that depicts an unoccupied and upended outdoor tableau set in a seaside landscape, with familiar household objects strewn across the dunes as if leftover from a natural disaster. strategically placed mirrors create an optically-warping sensation of depth and expanse that prompt viewers to consider what is real and what is illusion.

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum
all images: samara golden, in collaboration with the fabric workshop and museum, philadelphia, upstairs at steve’s (installation detail), 2020. mixed media. 80’ 7” x 17’ 6” x 16’ | photos by carlos avendaño

 

 

samara golden: upstairs at steve’s reveals a bewildering confluence of biography, history, psychology, and nature, with thoughtfully embedded layers of consciousness steeped in a single landscape. the exhibition presents the convergence of several disasters connected to a platform from which visitors experience them. golden created the artwork as part of her residency at the FWM, and researched patterns found in historical swatch books in noted textile collections, including 1836-1926 printed cottons and silks. for the installation, the artist chose to juxtapose these with the recognizable designs from specific parts of her life spanning childhood to the present — thus collapsing time, history, and memory.

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

 

 

the exhibition loosely references the 1982 album ‘upstairs at eric’s’ by british synthpop duo yazoo, which recalls vivid events for golden. in substituting the name steve in the title, the artist honors her late brother-in-law who recently passed away from complications of ALS. golden witnessed a conflicting and devastating disconnect as steve’s body slowly became paralyzed, while his mind stayed intact. this overwhelming experience — and her memory of him — greatly informed golden’s process and inquiry.

 

finally, building upon the artwork’s original soundscape, visitors are invited to submit audio recordings of their immediate surroundings with the goal of generating a cumulative and collaborative soundscape over the course of the exhibition.

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

samara golden sets optically-warping, post-disaster seaside scene in a philadelphia museum

 

 

exhibition info: 

 

title: samara golden: upstairs at steve’s

artist: samara golden

location: fabric workshop and museum, philadelphia, pennsylvania 

dates: september 10, 2020 — january 31, 2021

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