Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: Fine Arts

Competition: US & Canada

Listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the
landscape of contemporary art,” Cassils has achieved international recognition for a
rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. Featuring a series of
bodies transformed by strict physical training regimes, Cassils’ artworks offer shared
experiences for contemplating histories of violence, representation, struggle, and
survival. Cassils juxtaposes the immediacy, urgency and ephemerality of live
performance against constructed acts for camera in order to challenge the
“documentarian truth factor” of images. Bashing through gendered binaries, Cassils
performs transgender not as a crossing from one sex to another but rather as a
continual process of becoming, a form of embodiment that works in a space of
indeterminacy, spasm and slipperiness. Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art,
gay male aesthetics, Cassils forges a series of powerfully trained bodies for different
performantive purposes. It is with sweat, blood and sinew that Cassils constructs a
visual critique around ideologies and histories.

Recent solo exhibitions include Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; School of the
Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Bemis Center, Omaha; MU Eindhoven, Netherlands;
Trinty Square Video, Toronto; and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. Cassils’ work
has also been featured at the key art for the blockbuster exhibition at the Deutsches
Historisches Museum and the Schwules Museum*, Berlin, Institute for Contemporary
Art and The National Theatre, London; MUCA Roma, Mexico City; Yerba Buena Center
for the Arts, San Francisco; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; Utah Museum of
Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City; ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio,
Finland; Museo da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, Brazil; Museo de Arte y Diseño
Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica; and Deutsches Historishes Museum, Berlin,
Germany. Cassils is the recipient of a 2015 Creative Capital Award. They have also
received the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, Rema Hort Mann
Visual Arts Fellowship, California Community Foundation Grant, MOTHA (Museum of
Transgender Hirstory) award, and Visual Artist Fellowship from the Canada Council of
the Arts. Cassils’ work has been featured in New York Times, Boston Globe, Artfourm, Wired, The Guardian, TDR, Performance Research, Art Journal, and Vogue Brazil and was the subject of the monograph Cassils published by MU Eindhoven in 2015.

Photograph credit: Robin Black

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Video links:
103 Shots
Inextinguishable Fire
Becoming An Image
Cuts: A Traditional Sculpture

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