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[ the space in between ]

A collection of selected works from 2012 onwards. 
These works explore gender diverse (non)belonging, by using the body, duality, processes of (un)becoming, and externalised materialisation.

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Untitled (Silencer redone) 2015, Print & Video loop

Untitled (Silencer redone)

2015, Print, and Video loop

Untitled (Silencer Redone) presents sexed bodies in an unusual and interesting way, with an endless line of alternating male and female bodies that actively cover the chest and groin area of their sex counterpart. The models look straight forward with little expression, ridding the performance of emotional engagement in a way that suggests it is a mechanical or perfunctory act of minimal consideration. Indeed, subjectivities are generally formed without much conscious awareness. In this piece, the pair are caught in a cycle of ‘othering’, whereby one covers the sexed parts of the other while being simultaneously covered in equal measure. This simple representation refers to the tenet that the two sexes cannot exist except in contrast to one another. In this work, the opposition of the signifiers inscribed on each subject (through bodily difference) constructs the bipolar system through which each is made visible. Therefore, it is inevitable that the concealment of one’s most overtly sex-based bodily differences (chest and groin) would lead to the dissolution of the other’s socially-recognisable presence. Rather than being intrinsically situated, this piece asserts that sex is actually a conceptually constructed way of being identified.

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Self-Made (Two Boxes)

2015, Mixed Media, 40x30x18cm each

Two lit white boxes with glass tops lie adjacent on the floor. In the glass cover, each features a silhouetted image - one of a male figure and one of a female. Each figure sits on a stool in an empty space, holding a pencil to their body, evidently in the process of sketching out the details of their body. However, only the chest and genitalia are drawn, and the rest of the bodies remain white and featureless. Initially it appears that each person’s act of drawing the self into existence is the result of individualised agency for self-production. However, with only the basic sexed features drawn, a disconnect arises between the individual and its supposed agency. It is as though the person is limited in how they can become visible - the features are predetermined, and any act of self-creation requires adherence to these. The inspiration of this piece comes from post-structuralist response to feminist metaphysics, whereby theorists (namely Judith Butler) counter ontological claims by the latter who argue that sex precedes gender since it is intrinsic and therefore not constructed. Butler contends that the ‘materiality of the body [is] achieved through the performativity of gender’. In other words, sex as a distinguishing category is meaningless without gender; bodily variations materialise and are given significance through gender embodiment. So, while the individuals appear to creating themselves, they are in fact recreating themselves within the parameters set by heteronormative constructions. Furthermore, their positioning (on a stool in an empty space) suggests that they invite, perhaps even unconsciously, the gaze of others. Just as their sex identities are not complete until recognised and validated from the outside, the piece itself is not complete in its meaning until the viewer interprets it. Accordingly, this work seeks to underline the perpetuation of sexing the body through the appropriation of the process itself.

Conversations with Myselves

2015, Video, 35:00

Conversations with Myselves is a mixed-media installation and performance piece, which served as my MFA graduation artwork. Along with a performance (see next page), it comprises a two-channel video, projected onto opposing walls. Each features an individual, one a man and the other a woman. Both characters are played by me, and they are presented in somewhat stereotypical gender forms. They engage in a friendly, dynamic and often cringe-worthy discussion on gender, sex and sexuality, sometimes breaking into debate. They challenge each other’s understanding of gender and sex, as well as try to determine what makes a ‘real’ man or ‘real’ woman. Ultimately, they contend that they do not have the answers, and they in fact know far less than they had assumed due to their biases. The conversation’s elements and narrative arc are drawn from the rhetoric that I have encountered in when coming out as trans. They also reflect some of the internal dialogues I myself have had in coming to terms with my desire to transition.

What inspired this work is a theory by Hubert Hermans (2001), called Dialogical Self Theory (DST), which applies a psychological concept that interlaces self (internal) and dialog (external). According to his theory, individuals have the capacity to imagine the positions of multiple participants within a dialog. The positions are informed by the external (society) but are applied as they are interpreted within the individual. In other words, we can have debates in our minds because we do not have monolithic interpretations of concepts or ideas. Within each person, there is the understanding of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man, since gender is a learnt experience and not intrinsic to our being. The discussion between the presented man and woman in this artwork is meant to reflect some of the typical elements of the debates held between men and women in (Western) heteronormative societies. The fact that they are both (obviously) played by the same person draws attention to the fact that gender is performative rather than intrinsic.


Video excerpt (4:00) can be accessed here:


Done/Undone [Conversations with Myselves installation performance]

2015, Performance, 40 min to 3 hours


Done/Undone uses performance to delve into the question of the binary’s validity, both in terms of gender and sex. I have performed this piece twice - once with another person (who is male-to-female transgender) and once alone. The provided images are stills taken from a mounted camera which recorded my solo performance, done at my MFA graduation exhibition. See the next page for an overview of the artwork’s layout.

The performance’s organisation is quite simple, as there are only three elements: the masculine, the feminine, and the in-between. On the feminine side are a makeup table, stool, wig, hanging dress and jacket, shoes and vanity mirror. On the masculine side, there are shoes, jacket, glasses, hair wax and make-up removing tissues. At the centre is a small curtained space with fluorescent lights illuminating brightly from within. I repeatedly move from one side to the other, transforming in full from man to woman and back again. The central portion is principal to the piece: it is where I change my clothes through an act made visible by a silhouette. Here I am only recognisable as a figure that must manoeuvre itself out of limbo by adopting the right clothes and appropriate mannerisms. This is a space of liminality, a necessary transition in order to become material again. When I emerge at either side, I complete the relevant gender tasks, then pose for the audience. I allow myself to internalise the adorned gender identity - this mentality manifests itself in how I position myself for and engage with the audience.

Video excerpt (low resolution):


2013, Video/Video Stills, 10:00

Absent/Present shows two nude individuals, one female bodied and one male bodied. Using a green screen effect, they manually paint themselves with in and out of the visual field. As one person is becoming invisible, the other is becoming visible; and this process is looped endlessly. It brings to mind the question, Do the sexed bodies exist only in contrast to one another? Does the presence of one depend on the absence of the other? This dichotomy reveals the act of self-creation, in which one person makes him- or herself visible only through the erasure of the constructed opposite. Such a construction highlights the rigidity of the imagined sex binary that claims there is no space in between.

Cloaked Bodies

2013, Photo Installation, various dimensions

This piece exhibits 15 individuals in about 30 framed images whom I photographed between the neck and mid- thighs. They present the people in various gendered forms, according to their clothes, bodies and poses. With mismatched frames filled with photos of various people arranged over furniture, it becomes a homey living room setting. However, the experience of viewing them becomes curious as only torsos are showing. Closer inspection reveals that these torsos are strange. Bodies, poses and outfits are sometimes incongruent, and this compels the viewer to scan each photo, one at a time, looking for clues as to what is what. This process allows the viewer to become conscious of how they interpret what they are seeing, or - in other words - how they gender others.

Am I a Real Man Yet.

2015, Print on canvas, 40x60cm + two canvases, hair, wooden frame, 2 x 10x10cm


A printed canvas of a chest hangs next to two small canvases, one of which is empty and the other covered in hair. The two smaller canvases ask us to consider the presence of hair, and what it might mean in the image.

When I exhibit this piece, I accommodate it with the following text:

Am I a Real Man Yet asks the viewer to examine the presented figure. In considering the title’s question, a first glance at the hairiness might indicate that this is a ‘real man’. But the bulging chest and enlarged nipples, even as slight as this, may hint at a different past.

Are you looking more closely now? If so, why?
Does it matter? If so, why?
What exactly is it that you need to know, and what does it tell you about the subject of the piece? Or, more importantly, what does it tell you about yourself?

Done/Undone [(Un)becoming each other]

2015, Performance, 3 hours
Bokboden Gallery, Bergen, Norway


With Helle Grøndahl, I performed a version of Done/Undone at Gallery Bokboden, in Bergen. For three hours a day, for three days, we performed in this small gallery with a window to the street. Passersby watched as Helle and I became and unbecame a man and a woman, emerging repeatedly in contrast with one another.

Frankie H

2012-present, performance, varying lengths

Since I lived in Cape Town, I have been performing drag on stage — first as a drag king, then after I transitioned to a man, as a drag queen. As a king, I performed an unintentionally femininised hyper-masculinity, parodying the man-making behaviours and desires around me whilst holding on to my own ‘swishiness’. As a queen, I break away from tradition and present a paradox, daring the audience to categorise me.

Photo credit: Helene Mariussen

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