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Heather Cassils, Becoming an Image Performance Still No. 1, 2013, C-print, 22 x 30".

Heather Cassils

Ronald Feldman Gallery

Heather Cassils, Becoming an Image Performance Still No. 1, 2013, C-print, 22 x 30".

In many contexts, soft is a derisive term. When describing character, it connotes wimpiness or gullibility; when describing physique, it suggests the flabbiness our fat-phobic culture finds utterly repellent. In 2011, Heather Cassils banished every trace of physical softness—without surgery or any kind of hormone treatment—by adhering to a grueling diet and workout regimen, gaining twenty-three pounds of muscle in as many weeks. For this solo show, Cassils used his body—now a paragon of hypertrophic hardness and butched-out sexiness—as both medium and prop.

A display of twelve photographs, which document “Becoming an Image,” his 2012–13 series of performances from prior exhibitions in London, Montreal, and Los Angeles, depict him pulverizing one-ton mountains of clay into rough-hewn, abstract forms. These seductive, cinematic images of the artist—just barely

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