Claye Bowler: Measured Transition 2016-2021
Huddersfield-based Claye Bowler will premiere a new work Measured Transition 2016-2021 commissioned by Yorkshire Sculpture International. This film is of the performance which was the culmination of a five-year durational performance around the subject of top surgery, which began with Bowler shaving his head after first going to his GP to ask to be referred to an NHS gender identity clinic. He has grown his hair since that first appointment to visually depict the wait it takes to get surgery within UK healthcare.
This filmed performance which took place at Leeds Art Gallery marks the end of Bowler’s wait: four years, nine months and three days. He uses a surgical scalpel, the same kind as the one used in the surgery, to methodically cut off his hair whilst an audio of questions asked within the gender clinic is played into the room.
Content note: this work consists of Claye Bowler cutting his hair off with a surgical scalpel and the act of cutting the hair could evoke feelings of self-harm. The audio consists of four people reading out questions he was asked in the Gender Identity Clinic which range from the mundane, to quite personal, intimate and intrusive.
The film will be followed by a live conversation with the artist.
Claye Bowler (b.1995) is an artist based in Huddersfield. His work explores queer and trans narratives and how they have been perpetually hidden, erased or destroyed. Bowler uses sculpture and performance to subvert these practices in his own work as well as creating space to showcase and support other queer and trans artists.
Over the past year Bowler’s work has focused around the isolation of lockdown paired with the physical transition of their body: the lead up to surgeries and the violence of the (stalled) wait involved under the diminished funding and care of the NHS.
Recent projects and exhibition: Director of Yonder Gallery; Not much further film commissioned and screened by Decoder 2020-2021; Exhibition – Sick! with Ro Hardaker 2021 at Yonder gallery, Huddersfield; PANIC! Steering group member 2021-22; Participating artist for UKNA city takeover 2021 (postponed to 2022); Artist advisor for Threshold Sculpture 2021; Young Curator for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2020 (postponed to 2021); Exhibition – Queer Contemporaries at Air Gallery Manchester, 2020; Member of YSI Sculpture Network 2020.
Yorkshire Sculpture International are presenting Measured Transition in partnership with Henry Moore Institute and with the support of Hyde Park Picture House as part of our On the Road programme.
Image credit: Claye Bowler, Measured Transition 2016-2021. Photograph by Arlo Lawton. Copyright the artist.
Picture House Presents
Leeds University Union