Last Saturday, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts hosted the opening reception for “Melt/Carve/Forge: Embodied Sculptures,” the first solo museum exhibition in the United States created by Cassils, a transgender multimedia artist from Montreal, Quebec. The work featured blended mediums like audio, sculpture, photography and projection to illustrate concepts of gender and masculinity.
Emily Vey Duke, a patron of PAFA, described Cassils’ work as “a nuanced and complicated response to violence against transgender people.” These themes of violence are a huge part of Cassils’ work, with one section of the exhibit displaying a 2,000-pound mound of clay that Cassils “fought.” Photographs documenting this fight lined the walls of the gallery.
Cassils described the exhibit as “an exploration around the ideas of pushing back on the sort of binary notions of gender.”
“[It is] to hyper-perform the ideas around masculinity, to kind of showcase its production as something that is structured as opposed to naturalized,” Cassils said. “I see a lot of my work speaking to performing and exploding certain pre-conditioned ideas around bodies.”
“Melt/Carve/Forge” will be on display at PAFA until March 5, 2017.