THE WORLD OF GEORGE HENRY LONGLY
“My work has always been concerned with material culture,” says multi-hyphenate artist George Henry Longly. Relating his work to an understanding of contemporary conditions, society, culture and personal timelines within a historical context, he often works with sculpture, installation, furniture, interiors, video, performance, curation and exhibition design. Subjects constituting life in zero gravity, the extreme pressures of the deep sea and self in the digital age, tend to capture his interest. When it comes to translating his findings, mirrors have been his trusty medium for years.
Though he has been making mirrors since 2011, following his graduation from MA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, it wasn’t until 2020 that Longly finally founded Studioghl. With a clear vision for his design work and direct-to-client communication, Studioghl is a space for radical approaches to art and design, and a place to buy limited edition artworks that help financially sustain Longly’s wider practice.
This month, Longly has launched a complete and prolific range of his Studioghl signature Go-Go Mirrors – and for the very first time, the effervescent home accessories are available in all eight of the lab’s exclusive hues: green, violet, dark-cyan, tangerine, pink, red, fluro-yellow and fluro-pink to boot.
A conspicuous nod to ‘go-go’ dancers, the appellation refers to the nuances of self-image and projection. With a luminous, reflective base and a stereogram-like print, the maze-mirror implicates its viewer in the artwork. Longly explains: “It is a way of looking at the world through the work and a way of talking about relational perspectives, subjectivities and multiple-positions combined in one object.”
Recognised by his trademark maze motif, Longly’s first exhibition took place alongside Rick Owens in London. Since then, he has worked with major international institutions, private patrons, galleries and commercial clients including Bistrotheque, Hoi Polloi, The Ace Hotel London, Tiger of Sweden, Palais de Tokyo, Red Bull Arts, The Fiorucci Trust and The Serpentine.
With an emphasis on structure, form and composition, his mandala-like geometric artwork are crafted via a precise and pageant industrial process. Through masking and sandblasting the glass, then hand finishing and executing the final assembly at his studio in Woolwich, the Go-Go Mirrors come to life.
New to his corpus, Longly has begun inconspicuously placing letters into his congruous designs so that words or phrases are legible. Plus, he’s having a crack at circular silhouettes for a bit of anatomical transformation.
A prolific member of the London queer community, Longly also runs Anal House Meltdown – a queer clubnight – alongside Eddie Peake and Prem Sahib. “Clubs, raves and sound-systems provided us space and gave us the opportunity to do something different, outside of the gatekeeping of institutions or the hype of the commercial art world,” he says. From Sao Paolo to NYC, Rome to Stromboli to Stockholm, the unconventional party is something of a globetrotter but according to Longly, the plan is to potentially return to London later this year after a Covid-19-induced-hiatus – fingers crossed!
Going it alone with only Sahib by his side, Longly also set up Xtrade – an online and pop-up marketplace – AHMD.TV, and the experimental artist-run Ridley Road Project Space in a bid to provide solidarity within his community and to avoid being exploited by the creative industries.
Shop Studioghl Go-Go-Mirrors here. Photography courtesy of Studioghl.