Heather Cassils

Cuts: A Traditional Sculpture is a durational performance resulting in an installation, sildenafil two-channel video, and zine. The work is structured as a dialogue with two seminal performance works, Eleanor Antin’s Carving: A Traditional Sculpture and Lynda Benglis’ 1974 Advertisement.

Rather than crash diet, over five months Heather Cassils built her body by taking male hormones, adhering to a strict bodybuilding regime and controlled diet. She documented her body as it changed, taking 4 photos a day, from 4 vantage points inspired by Antin’s photographic grid. She then collapsed 23 weeks of training into 23 seconds of time-lapsed video juxtaposed against highly stylized scenes which play in painful slow motion Cassils’ training process. Finally, with her body in its peak condition, she staged a photographic homage to Benglis, placing these two important works in dialogue with each other via her exaggerated physique.


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Training photos by Zackary Drucker.
Heather Cassils and Robin Black, Advertisment (Homage to Benglis), 2011.


Heather Cassils’ practice weds her experience as a stunt person and a body builder to the ethos of FLUXUS and guerrilla theater. Her solo physical performances are informed by a decade of working in the collective Toxic Titties, but are grounded in the exploration of the specific possibilities of the body, as both instrument and image. Cassils’ methods are multidisciplinary, combining performance, film, drawing, video, photography, and event planning. Cassils has exhibited at the Whitechapel and Thomas Danes in London; Manifesta, Schnitt Ausstellungsraum, and Edith Ruß Site for Media Art in Germany; the LGBT film festival in Paris, France; the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna, Austria; MUCA Roma and International Festival in Rome; Ex-Teresa Arte Actual in Mexico City; Art in General in New York; Art Basel Miami Beach; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; and LACE and the USC Center for Feminist Research in Los Angeles.