Transgender artist Cassils uses their own body to explore the history of LGBTQI violence, representation, struggle and power

BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE CASSILS HUMAN MEASURE PHOTOGRAPHED BY BONNY TAYLOR

Human Measure is a new exhibition which will be on show at HOME Manchester until 12 December 2021. This is Cassils’ first UK solo exhibition and a 10-year survey at a critical moment for advocacy. Cassils is a transgender visual artist who makes their own body the materials and protagonist of their performances. The artist works with live performance, sculpture, photography, sound design and film. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture, drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations.

Works in the exhibition include: Cuts: A Traditional Sculpture, Monument Push and 103 Shots. Cassils has powerfully trained their body for different performative purposes, committing to physical and psychological endurance. By positioning their body as a battleground, Cassil shares experiences for contemplating survival.

Cassils Encapsulated Breaths, Installation Image (Solutions, Stantion Museum, Houston, Texas), 2018 photo_ Cassils with Alejandro Santiago Courtesy of the artist

With the recent government review of the UK Gender Recognition Act falling short of promises of reform and the rise of toxic online abuse and anti-trans hate crimes, this is a time where advocacy is urgently needed. It is against this backdrop that HOME presents Human Measure.

The exhibition grapples with the question: “What does it mean to engage in the politics of representation in a moment of heightened violence?” Cassils has said: “As an artist I hope to challenge us to examine our various modes of participation in repeated scenes of violence, as victims or instigators, as bystanders, as witnesses, as consumers of mass media. I believe art can create a rupture in these routine processes of identification, objectification, and abjection, putting pressure on empathy and its failures.”

As part of the exhibition, a new film will be available to stream on HOMEscreen (£10 / £5 concession) showing the one-night-only performance of Cassils’ first piece of contemporary dance Human Measure (2021). The piece was created in collaboration with a group of UK non-binary dancers.

You can find out more about the exhibition and how to book tickets here.

@niccrosara   

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