Cassils: Human Measure at HOME

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Cassils: Human Measure at HOME
Encapsulated Breaths. Image courtesy of Cassils with Alejandro Santiago.

Cassils: Human Measure at HOME Manchester, Manchester 2 October — 12 December 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Curated by Bren O’Callaghan for HOME, Human Measure is the first UK solo exhibition by the internationally renowned transgender visual artist Cassils. Bringing important conversations around the politics of representation to the fore, you’ve only got until 12 December to experience this urgent and timely solo exhibition at HOME.

You’ve only got until 12 December to experience this urgent and timely solo exhibition.

Making their own body the canvas and protagonist of their art, Cassils works across the mediums of sculpture, photography, live performance, sound design and film. The exhibition, which was accompanied by a world premiere contemporary dance piece, offers a ten-year survey of Cassils’ work.

Drawing on the notion that our perceptions of the body are shaped by power and social narratives, Cassils’ work considers the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence and representation. In Cassils’ work the body becomes the vital and primary site of artistic inquiry and as such, becomes central in expressing themes of struggle and survival.

Cassils Human Measure (Developed), Detail shot, 2021 Developed in real time during the performance of Human Measure. Marks are the indexical trace caused by motion during the live performance. Cyanotype Advisor: Bonny Taylor Photo: Bonny Taylor Courtesy of the artist.

Working within conceptualism, feminism and body arts, Cassils’ performative work involves training, sculpting and transforming their body as a means of expressing identity and self. By pushing themselves to the extremes of physical experience, and recording or presenting the process and/or output as a performance, Cassils aims to disrupt established ideas around gender and sexuality.

Cassils aims to disrupt established ideas around gender and sexuality.

The exhibition was also accompanied by Cassils’ first piece of contemporary dance. A new commission for HOME’s Theatre 1, the work was set to the backdrop of the government’s recent shortfallings in reviewing the UK Gender Recognition Act; the toxic online abuse propagated by those purporting to champion women’s rights and the rise of far-right forums. With a surge in reports of anti-trans hate crimes since 2014, the performance looked to examine personal safety, visibility and vulnerability during a time of heightened violence against the Gender-Nonconforming/ Trans community.

Collaborating with renowned dance choreographer Jasmine Albuquerque, Human Measure (2021) utilised Cassils’ research into kinesiology, martial arts and sports science to reexamine Yves Kline’s Anthropometries paintings, which were elaborately produced using naked bodies as paintbrushes in front of an audience.

There are a number of ticketed events running alongside the main exhibition too. On 2 December independent curator Bren O’Callaghan will introduce Cassils’ work and take an in-depth look at the exhibition at Cassils: Curator Exhibition Tour. Furthermore, on 26 November Anne Hornsby, of award-winning audio description agency Mind’s Eye, will join with Bren O’Callaghan for an Audio Described Exhibition Tour, to interpret the exhibition for blind and sight impaired audiences.

A further highlight, happening on 9 December, is a special live one-off performance by UK-based Zimbabwean writer/ performer mandla rae and Manchester-based poet Maz Hedgehog. Taking place in the gallery exhibition, Human Musings is set to offer a thought-provoking performative response to Cassils’ work, asking what happens when different creatives reflect upon the same pieces of art.


Cassils: Human Measure at HOME Manchester, Manchester 2 October — 12 December 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

What's on at HOME Manchester

Horizons Festival 2024 at HOME
Horizons Festival 2024 at HOME

As part of Refugee Week and in partnership with Community Arts North West, HOME present Horizons Festival 2024, a weekend-long celebration of theatre, film, art, performance, workshops and debate.

free entry

Where to go near Cassils: Human Measure at HOME

Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
Music venue
The Ritz

The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

Event venue

Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

Café or Coffee Shop
Burgess Cafe Bar

Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

Rain Bar pub in Manchester
City Centre
Bar or Pub
Rain Bar

This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

Bar or Pub
The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

What's on: Exhibitions

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