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Cassils: The Body as Social Sculpture

Becoming An Image Performance Still No.3, Edgy Woman Festival, Montreal 2013. Photo by Cassils and Alejandro Santiago

With targeted, strictly disciplined strength training, Cassils makes their own body the protagonist of their performances, and contemplates the history(s) of violence, representation, struggle and survival. Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to social expectations, Cassils speaks about past works and their starting points, development procsses and historical contexts.
Cassils, performance artist, bodybuilder and transgender icon, lives and works in Los Angeles. Using their own body as artistic material, Cassils processes influences from feminism, body art and hyper-masculine, homoerotic aesthetics. Cassils eludes binary gender categories and understands and embodies transgender not as a crossing from one gender to another, but rather as a continual process of becoming, as a form of embodiment that works in a space of indeterminacy and ambiguity.
Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. It is with sweat, blood, and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around
ideologies and histories.
Solo exhibitions include MU Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Trinty Square Video, Toronto; and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. Cassils’ work has also been featured at the Broad Museum Institute for Contemporary Art and The National Theatre, London. They have also received the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, California Community Foundation Grant, a Creative Capital grant and Visual Artist Fellowship from the Canada Council of the Arts. Cassils’ work has been featured in New York Times, Wired, The Guardian, TDR, Performance Research, Art Fourm and was the subject of themonograph Cassils published by MU Eindhoven in 2015.
The School of Art Visiting Artists and Scholars lecture series is made possible by the School of Art Advisory Board Visiting Artists and Scholars Endowment, the School of Art, the College of Fine Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence, and the Center for Creative Photography.

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