Rosha Yaghmai: Easy Journey to Other Planets


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Receiving a $500 phone bill is an unfortunate surprise. Unfortunate because it’s like receiving five phone bills at once. It’s a consequence for not considering the future, so caught up in the moment that you are actually living outside of it. It’s important, though, because it provides a visual testament of a time of convergence, something actually is happening, and neither sender nor receiver can deny that space that has been shared; but it also solidifies a distance. Simply talking with someone, the experience of their voice, the constant entertainment and creative ways of affection keep each yearning for more; yet the actual distance can leave both parties departing with a sigh. Closing your eyes at least takes the empty room away—the act of falling asleep draws them near even if decorated with unfamiliar faces, waking up to their call, “How did you sleep?”… “Fine, how was your day?”

Rosha Yaghmai’s solo exhibition Easy Journey to Other Planets at Kayne Griffin Corcoran started with a list of simple questions she sent out to multiple people.

-Who is a person/some people you associate with Los Angeles?
(can be from any era)

-What are a few important or memorable events that occurred here?
(ex: The ’84 Olympics, the new pier… Manson murders… can be
major, or not)

-What is your favorite place here? Please describe it.

-If you aren’t from here, when you moved here what was surprising to
(ex: there are mountains, tangerine juice)

-When you travel, what do people ask you (or talk with you) about LA?

-If you could move anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

-If you could live in any other time, when would it be?

Whether you live in Los Angeles or other metropolis, it is typically a long-distance relationship; a lot of eventuallys, near futures, and rescheduling. When we move around this type of place, we have to consider how long we are willing to wait, is it worth it, what will be gained for what time we will lose; immediacy comes in postponement. We are time travelers here, entertaining the phrase, “if there is traffic…” because we have insurmountable imaginations. How far can I remove myself from the situation to be OK with it? Finding amusement in moving slightly to the left or slightly to the right, as a motorcyclist slips through our lulling progress with the hopes to receive a small wave of the hand, acknowledging our kind gesture in our sunken state. There is no time to wave back—they are gone—and we are waiting still, telling ourselves that the need to get there faster does not exceed the odds of a quicker death.

Aqua resin and chrome socks scattered around the gallery floor—an access point because I want to pick them up. There are four of them, suggesting either a couple’s similarities in their complicities, or a single person’s repetitive cycle of complacent disregard, expecting no visitors. Socks aren’t always the last thing we take off, but often after pulling your pants impatiently inside-out and down and over your legs, the socks linger off the toes and slightly down the ankle. Worn clothes often litter the bed, but not often do we sleep with dirty socks; we kick them off into the corner, away from everything else. The day is done, you took me around. Yet these socks are determined to stay put.


Heavy to the ground lie five oddly shaped colorful chunks of earth titled Dropout Culture #1-5. The color on the surface of each one shifts with movement and my mind drifts to candy paint, walking around those flashy (90’s) cars, bellies pressed to the ground, color rotating from blue to pink to purple and back to blue. These small masses on the ground are poured plastic, painted with Mayan pigments, both resembling small outer planetary objects and massive landscapes, making me both a giant and a victim of smallness in the “bigger picture.” I want to put a microscope into the small crevices where pebbles and sand indented the plastic. I find the artist and her friend sitting off to the side waiting for things to dry, staring at the smooth bottom of these jagged fragments. When will it pass, how could I be so foolish? “Cause falling in love is quick,” she says, as she turns blue to pink to red to purple.


I lie down in the rusty aluminum chair in the center of the room, the foil-like triangular object that hangs in front of my face similar to one of those reflective tanning impossible to define surely terrible for you, why are you not wearing sunscreen! things makes me feel uneasy. This doesn’t seem like it would bronze my skin, more like fry my brains; its mysterious function sans sun and heat is rendered useless. The seat also allows me to rest under the brilliant lavender awning, stretched out and held by three ropes tied behind me on the ceiling, seemingly yearning for another atmosphere, one with wind, one it could protect me from; it begs for purpose.

So where do I go? I am in this room with these objects.


The three gates that surround the room lead nowhere. They deny the viewer the right to passage. The straight-edge intaglio pattern is taken from the doorway of the Griffith Park Observatory. The material list alone, situated between the three, allows one to venture: wood, graphite, sanding sealer, DuoMatrix with iron, aluminum, silver nickel, Aztec secret healing clay, and Miracle-Gro. The archways are pressed against the wall but not embedded; to be in them I’d have to be sucked into the drywall, thoughts of a Gravitron’s pull when the floor drops out or Han Solo, stuck in the threshold, denied transference. To interact or engage physically with the piece, one must accept the space in which they stand; there is no easy way out. This is when imagination reigns ineffective, grounded in our present moment; this is the sound of sirens, this is when the handcuffs go on, the moment you realize it was all make-believe, and no one is there saying, you were right.

Allow for the imagination to take you to different places, but when you open your eyes don’t be surprised if everyone is looking at you, and you’ve done something wrong.

We live mythologically through our nostalgic renderings, or so we tell ourselves, this couldn’t possibly be as good as I thought it was, and we digress. Yaghmai’s work doesn’t struggle to live up to the emotional or psychological weight prescribed to it through lived experiences—it offers multiple places of entry. Even in the pieces’ refusal to function, they beg for a storyline while remaining confidently grounded in their unusual material. I swear this door moved, these tools were like magic! I think this is the site, you should have been there. If you’d only give me a second chance.

Why are we always trying to step outside of ourselves instead of focusing on what is directly in front of us? Perhaps because it is not such a bad thing after all—if you truly believe in what it is you are waiting for it will be worth it in the end.


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Rosha Yaghmai exhibition closes this Saturday May 16th.

Images 1-4 taken from the website

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