Solution– Opening performance of Cassils’s solo exhibition at the Station Museum, in Houston Texas, entitled SOLUTIONS.
LIVE Performance: November 3, 2018 2pm- 6pm
Opening Party 6 pm-10 pm
Houston, Texas- The opening of Cassils new solo show at the Station Museumwill feature Solution, a live performance that reinterprets and expands Cassils’s durational performance Tiresias. Cassils has collaborated with Rafa Esparza, Fanaa, and Keijaun Thomas, artists whose subject positions differ, but whose civil rights are all being eroded by the current US administrations. Under the current political climate, expanding and reimagining Tiresias to incorporate other performing bodies and working with the medium of ICE in Texas speaks of the coming together of diverging expressions, the power of performative actions, and the generation of collective creative forces.
For the opening performance the four artists will collectively melt a column of ice, shifting the frozen barrier from body to body, until it melts. The collective run-off will flood the gallery floor and later be poured into a plexi column in the center of the gallery.
After the opening performance, four films will be shown which depict each artist as they work with a chosen symbol, carved out of ice. These films are installed to formally reference the classical sculptures of divine figures found in temples of worship.
Cassils: Tiresias is named after a mythological figure, the blind prophet of Thebes, who was famously transformed from a man into a woman for seven years. Cassils embodies Tiresias by pressing their body up against the back of a neoclassical Greek male torso carved out of ice for precise contact with the artist’s physique. Cassils melts the ice sculpture with pure body heat, performing the resolve required to persist at the point of contact between masculine and feminine.
Rafa Esparza is a queer Chicano artist who uses performance and installation and is inspired by his relationship to colonization, the need to unearth, question, interrogate, and explore historical myths which in turn inform constructs regarding identity, land, memory, labor and kinship.
“We are the people who leap in the dark, we are the people on the knees of the gods. In our very flesh, (r)evolution works out the clash of cultures. It makes us crazy constantly, but if the center holds, we’ve made some kind of evolutionary step forward. Nuestraalma el trabajo, the opus, the great alchemical work; spiritual mestizaje, a “morphogenesis,” an inevitable unfolding. We have become the quickening serpent movement. Indigenous like corn, like corn, the mestiza is a product of crossbreeding, designed for preservation under a variety of conditions. Like an ear of corn—a female seed-bearing organ—the mestiza is tenacious, tightly wrapped in the husks of her culture. Like kernels she clings to the cob; with thick stalks and strong brace roots, she holds tight to the earth—SHE WILL SURVIVE THE CROSSROADS.” -Gloria Anzaldua
Keijaun Thomas’s work investigates the histories, symbols, and images that construct notions of Black identity within black personhood. Thomas examines, deconstructs, and reconstructs notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, passing, trespassing, eroticized, and marginalized representations of the black body in relation to disposable labor, domestic service, and notions of thingness amongst materials addressing blackness outside of a codependent, binary structure of existence.
“Sometimes I watch the wetness fall. Slowly and gracefully. I watch the water set and caress my skin. She holds me like my mother did. I’ve watched my grandmother work with dish water, rags and towels doing hospitality and care work her entire life. I’ve watched my mother boil hot water in pots on the stove top to make a bath. I’ve washed my own body and imagined our swimming bodies in bodies of water much larger than myself— bodies of scars and stars. I’ve held the pleasures and pressures of dependency, care and support in the palms of my hands. I’ve lived with the endurance and intimacy that care work demands of those expected to perform it— predominantly black women, black femmes/ trans women and marginalized people of color. Water is strong like the moonlight is gentle. I think about my ancestry and how we got to these shores. I think about Yemaya, the Yorùbá Orisha or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the mother of all bodies of water— both “motherly, strongly protective, and cares deeply for all Her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow.” I think about the immense labor and care work demanded of our bodies, rock hard, icy sweat dripping. Cleaned, rinsed, baptized. Scrubbing, washing and rebirth. Reclaimed, purified, filled with light, the surface so clear, we gleam.” -Keijaun Thomas
Fanna works in performance, sound and film. Her body of work stems from the complexities of inhabiting multiple personas: woman, Muslim, immigrant, citizen, insider, outsider.
“The Buraq has been in my mind’s eye since I was a child. She is a controversial figure, part woman, part horse, and part wing. She is not spoken of in the Quran explicitly, but lives strong in folklore and indigenous mythology, sites of resistance to fundamentalism and orthodoxy, sites of richness, imagination and power in counterpoint to austerity and control. I grew up in a home that did not permit iconography, so my choice to become an “artist” has been torn with conflict, both external and internal, and I feel so often paralyzed in my longing to make things. In trying to gild her before she disappears, i think of our very human desire to fix what is divine and unfixable, the simultaneous dreams and limits of alchemy, and the inevitable failure in this attempt is the gesture towards a devotional act, the only kind that makes sense to me.” – Fanna