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Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
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Charles Long at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery


Immediately after getting my second Moderna vaccine, I stumbled into Tanya Bonakdar Gallery to see Charles Long’s “WORKLIGHT” before any side effects kicked in. The way the exhibition joins light, sound, and sculptural assemblages into a kind of futuristic set in which the viewer becomes a participant felt especially pertinent after my second jab. 

Light is cast onto small mirrors embedded in sculptural assemblages that meld rogue body parts, abstract forms, and found objects into cakey plaster constructions, resulting in abstract glyphs projected onto nearby walls. Some works, like “WRKLT: chosen” and “WRKLT: believe” are interactive, and the viewer can spin the pieces on their bases as the projected glyphs splay out across the walls before coming back together in neat formation. Meanwhile, sculptural speakers draped from the ceiling play a moody soundtrack arranged by Jon Hassell, furthering the sense of sci-fi suspense. The works, while drained of color, are filled with found and sentimental objects (including the ashes of two of the artist’s beloved dogs and Venitian glassware inherited from Long’s grandmother), becoming strange capsules of our current moment—ghostly markers of this historic year.

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Photo: Charles Long, “WORKLIGHT” (Installation view), Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Los Angeles, April 10 – May 28, 2021. Photo: Jeff McLane. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles.