After entering the first courtyard at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, I am invited to penetrate a second one re-created by Rosha Yaghmai between the four white walls of the gallery. The Los Angeles based artist has placed here and there sculptures of reassuring shapes and comforting colours. Everything seems to be alive, and designed to protect whoever steps into the space. Panels double as curtains just in case I feel watched, benches offer assistance should I feel tired, and poles enhanced with pastel colours act as eerie guiding lights, in the event that I lose my bearings. “Why don’t you take a moment to sit down and reflect?” the art seems to be asking.
Yaghmai has indirectly schemed the scenario. Perhaps she supposes that as busy individuals, we are not introspective enough. Or perhaps, that we are often too afraid to stand alone in our own darkness. Whatever her reasons, the world the artist has designed for her viewers, is meant to be non-demonstrative, but rather to encourage them to converse with themselves.
In this non-aggressive environment, opaque and transparent materials at times prevent the light from breaking through and at other times let it completely spread through the air, mimicking the flow of our thoughts and emotions as we gradually open up. Without any words, the rusty and damaged components of the pole-like sculptures skewer their way into our minds, and from there, we understand that even when broken, there is hope to become a beautiful living being. These sculptures speak to me, and I wonder if in the process, I am not taking it too personally. I hope this is the aim of the artist, to soften the atmosphere by swathing emotions with mellow colours.
The use of simple random elements such as electric pipes, rust, zinc oxide, silicone, brick, or cement almost fades. Seen as a whole, the journey looks aesthetically magnificent, and even though at first the presence of the panels seems odd, as do the benches, which appear compromised – can I sit on them? – I slow down my pace to let the installation transport me somewhere else. I surprise myself when I look up to check the broken glass or when I lean behind one of the panels to take a glimpse of what’s lurking behind it. At ease with my temporary world, I journey through the courtyard discovering how easy it can be to lower my guard and let go. Unafraid and distracted by my own introspection I almost forget that I am evolving through an artistic process. That thought still makes me shiver.
The Courtyard: Rosha Yaghmai at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (19 May – 8 July 2017)