Becoming An Image


Becoming an Image is a piece that works at the interstices of performance, photography, and sculpture. This piece was originally conceived as a site-specific work for the ONE Archives in Los Angeles, the oldest active LGBTQ archive in the United States. Cassils unleashes an attack on a 2000 pound clay block. Delivering a series of kicks and blows in total darkness, the spectacle is illuminated only by the flash of a photographer, burning the image into the viewer’s retina. At Cassils’s solo show at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, 12 photographs were displayed. They were taken by blinded photographers who captured performances from prior exhibitions in London, Montreal, and Los Angeles. These images depict Cassils sweating, grimacing, and flying through the air, a primal force, scarred flesh pummeling blocks of earth.

Header Image: Becoming An Image Performance Still No.3, Edgy Woman Festival, Montreal 2013. Photo by Cassils and Alejandro Santiago (24 X 36 in.) & After, 2,000 pounds of modeling clay, sculpture from the performance Becoming An Image, Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto, 2014 Photo by Cassils and Alejandro Santiago. (36 x 51 x 30 in.)

Images: Multiple performance stills from performances at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives (Los Angeles), SPILL International Festival of Performance (National Theater Studio, London), Edgy Women Festival (Montreal), Rhubarb Festival (Buddies In Bad Times Theater, Toronto) 

Video trailer for the live performance “Becoming An Image”, performance duration 22 minutes.

The Resillience of the 20%
Sculpture, Poured Black Concrete of Clay Bash, 2013.


Accompanying the photographs are two sculptures from 2013.  After, a mound of clay from the Becoming An Image performance that took place on the show’s opening night, is a sculpture accompanied by a multichannel sound piece of sharp breaths and wet punches recorded at the event, while The Resillience of the 20% is a violently elegant funerary sculpture made from torqued black concrete. The title of the latter piece underscores a sickening statistic: in 2012, murders of trans men and women around the world increased by 20 percent.

Becoming an Image smashes the weight of accountability directly on everyone involved — the audience for agreeing to partake in, and by proxy silently approve of, an act they are not completely aware of; the photographer for distancing himself from responsibility by hiding behind the officiality of the lens; and finally even the performer — an exhibitionist punching machine taking refuge in the dark.”

-Bojana Jankovic

Before, BBT, 2014-w

Before, 2,000 pounds of modeling clay, sculpture from the performance Becoming An Image, Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto, 2014 (photograph by Cassils and Alejandro Santiago). (36 x 51 x 30 in.)

The Resilience of the 20%.

“The Resilience of the 20%”, poured black concrete, cast clay bash, 36″ X 4′ X 24″, 2013.

4 channel audio piece, looped.

Ghost is a 4-channel sound installation which recreates the sounds of the artist’s breath, blows, grunts, and pulse rate during one performance of Becoming An Image. We hear Cassils darting from one corner to the other and circling the listener like a ghost.

Ghost works best when installed in a small blacked out room with the four speakers hung at ear level. It has also been installed around a remnant clay bash sculpture, as well as on wireless headphones alongside large-scale photographs from the same piece. To hear Ghost, please contact the artist or Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

Cassils-- Body of Work, 2013 (Install View of South Gallery)_B-w

Sound design by Kadet Kunne and Richard Barley, 2013

Images: Installation Shot of South Gallery, Becoming An Image, Multiple Mediums, BODY OF WORK (Solo Show), Ronald Feldman Fine Arts,  2013