Newly-commissioned by the Gardiner Museum, Up To and Including Their Limits debuts at a moment when increased trans visibility is coinciding with growing violence against trans people and challenges to trans rights. Cassils makes viewers confront this tension by pushing their body to the brink while a live audience looks on.
In Up To and IncludingTheir Limits, Cassils pays homage to the late feminist icon Carolee Schneemann, using clay to reimagine her historic performance piece Up To and Including Her Limits (1971-76)from a trans non-binary perspective.
Suspended from a harness in a plexiglass box with walls covered in thick raw clay, Cassils uses their mechanics and equilibrium to launch themself back and forth, clawing, swinging at the walls, and hurling chunks of clay to the floor. As they remove swaths of clay, Cassils creates “windows” through which the audience can see the performative action, problematizing and complicating the audience’s gaze by engineering voyeurism into the work itself.
“Cassils’ use of clay to shape our understanding of the non-binary body has transformed our perception of both the material and trans identity. This entirely new work deepens that relationship, raising questions of spectatorship, subjecthood, violence, and control. Attentive to histories of feminism and performance art, Cassils' work has the power to re-frame how we understand ourselves and our relationships to each other, in part through the medium of raw clay.”