This weekend I went to visit Claye Bowler’s exhibition ‘Top’
at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. The exhibition focuses on Claye’s documentation
of his Top surgery as a Transgender man and the use of the body as a piece of Art.
I was already familiar with Claye’s work after meeting him
earlier this year but had not yet seen his pieces in an exhibition. The archival
presentation of the work, the physical items preserved, and the interactive nature
of the exhibition appealed to me. Being able to open individual draws to view
information and images and being able to view physical pieces from Claye’s
surgery gives more insight into the impact of Top surgery. The archival
representation representing the hiding of Transgender history and
Claye’s work also made me reflect on my Transition and preparation
for Top surgery and the ways in which I could document my process. Claye’s
inclusion of his surgery photographs gave insight into the process of the
surgery itself and worked well within the cabinets. However, for my own project
I think this process would be too overwhelming and abrupt as well as not
adhering to my usual process of documentation.
As I approach my top surgery, I will continue collecting archival
materials to photograph and focus on my feelings and thoughts prior to surgery.