CUTS: A TRADITIONAL SCULPTURE

2011-2013

 

Cuts: A Traditional Sculpture is a large body of work with several components. It began with a six month durational performance and generated video installations, photographs, watercolors, and a magazine.

This body of work is a reinterpretation of Eleanor Antin’s 1972 performance Carving: A Traditional Sculpture, in which Antin crash dieted for 45 days and documented her body daily with photographs from four vantage points. Cassils instead used a mastery of bodybuilding and nutrition to gain 23 pounds of muscle over 23 weeks. Unlike the feminine act of weight loss in Antin’s performance, Cassils’s performance involves a transformation into a traditionally masculine muscular form. Below are four grids of time lapse photographs of Cassils’s transformation sorted by vantage point, offering a striking overview of the entire performance that draws out its conceptual clarity. This twist on “getting cut” queers the trans body by showcasing the cut of musculature as opposed to the cut of the surgeon’s knife.

Header image: Time Lapse (Front). Photos By Cassils, 2011. (40 X 60) & Advertisement: Homage to Benglis. Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (30 X 40).

Images: Time Lapse (Front). Photos By Cassils, 2011. (40 X 60), Time Lapse (Left). Photos By Cassils, 2011. (40 X 60), Time Lapse (Back). Photos By Cassils, 2011. (40 X 60), Time Lapse (Right). Photos By Cassils, 2011. (40 X 60).

For the purposes of this website Cassils has compiled a video from multiple sources project documentation.

Advertisement: Homage To Benglis
Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (30 X 40)

 

Cassils collaborated with photographer and makeup artist Robin Black to create Advertisement: Homage to Benglis, in which Cassils stages an homage to Linda Benglis’s Advertisement (1974). Rather than buy advertisement space in Artforum, the two artists capitalized on their connections in both on- and off-line gay fashion/art publications to disseminate these self-empowered images of trans representation. Substituting a ripped masculine physique for a double-ended phallus, they leaked the images without disclosing anything about their subject but including links to a blog about the project. Placing this image within these contexts signals the shifts in our cultural landscape, and highlights the role of artists like Benglis in bringing about those changes.

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LADY FACE // MAN BODY

 

Lady Face // Man Body is a glossy magazine consisting of several  “pin ups” taken during the photo shoot for Advertisment: Homage to Benglis. You can view the magazine at www.ladyfacemanbody.com. You can purchase the full color magazine Lady Face Man Body here.

Images: Lady Face//Man Body, Magazine Cover, Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (11 X 17 in.), Advertisement: Homage to Benglis. Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (30 X 40),Lady Face//Man Body Series, Pin Up 1, Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (11 X 17 in.), Lady Face//Man Body Series, Pin Up 5, Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (11 X 17 in.), Lady Face//Man Body Series, Pin Up 6, Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (11 X 17 in.)

 

Fast Twitch//Slow Twitch

Two channel, large scale video installation. 2011.

 

Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch is a video made as part of an endurance performance entitled Cuts: a Traditional Sculpture. When installed in a gallery setting, Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch uses two large screens.  One of these screens displays a time-lapse animation that collapses the 23 weeks of daily photographs of Cassils’s transformation into 23 seconds, while the other screen juxtaposes the speed of the time-lapse with highly stylized scenes in painful slow motion, scenes which depict a process laden with exhaustion, pain, nausea, trembling, and jouissance.  To see the original version of Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch please contact the artist or Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

Images: Installation Shot of Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch, Projected, large scale, two channel video installation, Cassils Compositions (Solo Show), Trinity Square Video, Toronto, 2013

DISFIGURED PINUPS
When Cassils circulated these trans positive self-determined images on the Huffington Post – in the Gay Voices section – they were met with a litany of hatred, confusion, and phobic comments. The defaced pin-up reflects the artist’s desire to push representation forward, as well as the hostility with which such acts are met. Placing these pin-ups within these contexts signals the shifts in our cultural landscape, and the role of artists like Benglis in bringing about those changes.

Images: Lady Face//Man Body Series, Pin Up 2, Photo By Cassils and Robin Black, 2011. (11 X 17 in.), Disfigured Image: Anatomically Correct. Collage: photo paper, marker, gouache, razor etching. By Cassils, 2013. (11 X 17 in.), Disfigured Image: Cut Up: Comments From Huffington Post Article. Collage: photo paper, marker, gouache, razor etching. By Cassils, 2013. (11 X 17), Disfigured Image: The Resilient 20%. Collage:photo paper, marker, gold paint, gouache, razor etching. By Cassils, 2013. (11 X 17) .

Maxing Out in Opera Pink Versions 1, 2 and 3

 

What we are seeing is a profound act of consumption, combined with the almost orgasmic exertion of “maxing out” in pursuit of a bodily image that is ultimately unsustainable.  The moment of its fruition is fleetingly captured by Cassils’s rosy watercolor renditions (Maxing Out in Opera Pink Versions 1, 2 and 3).

Images: Maxing Out Opera Pink, (Version 1), Water Color, 2013. (6.75 X 8.5), Maxing Out Opera Pink, (Version 2), Water Color, 2013. (7.75 X 8.5), Maxing Out Opera Pink, (Version 3), Water Color, 2013. (6.5 X 5.75)