Video art exhibition uses hormones to explore life, sex and identity

The exhibition, Transitional States: Hormones at the Crossroads of Art and Science, will be open at Birkbeck's Peltz Gallery from 10 May - 11 June 2018.

Dr Chiara Beccalossi. Photo credit: Angus Young

A new international video art exhibition and series of public events opening at the Peltz Gallery, based at Birkbeck's School of Arts, is raising important questions about hormone use and explores the impact their use has on emotions, sensations, sexual expression and desire.

The exhibition, Transitional States: Hormones at the Crossroads of Art and Science, features video art from established and emerging artists from countries including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Brazil, Columbia, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, UK, Uruguay and the USA.

Artists, performers, writers and activists use various techniques to produce these works, including 3D animation, stop motion, and infrared video, and use a range of formats such as performance for the camera, music video, documentary, TV show and online feeds.

Transitional States has been developed and is led by Dr Chiara Beccalossi (University of Lincoln), who said that the exhibition raises crucial questions about how society influences and regulates gender identity, captures broader explorations of sexuality and gender fluidity and takes viewers on intensely personal journeys.

“People use hormones to liberate themselves and to help their bodies match their gender, which is a hugely positive way in which they can be used. However, other groups have also been exposed to hormones in different ways, particularly through the medicalisation of women’s bodies in relation to birth control, menopause and ageing, said Chiara.

“The artists we’re working with in Transitional States offer an important commentary on how we use hormones to improve and sometimes constrain our lives in ways we rarely consider.

"Our series of public events being held throughout May and June also features well-known and highly respected authors, feminists, legal experts, activists, historians and sociologists discussing topics such as hormone uses and trans and non-binary issues, and hormones and intersex individuals; the pharmaceutical industry and sexuality.”

Annie Coombes, Director of the Peltz Gallery said “The Peltz has always been committed to providing a safe space to explore challenging issues. We are delighted to be able to support newly commissioned works engaging such urgent themes.”

The exhibition will be shown at the Peltz Gallery 10 May – 11 June, after which it will continue to Europe where it will be hosted at CCCB (Centre Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona) in Barcelona, Spain and LABS Gallery Arte Contemporanea in Bologna, Italy.

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