Kiss My Genders (Hayward Gallery)

An exhibition on gender identity, fluidity, and more is currently in residence at the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre.

Kiss My Genders includes photographs, sculpture, multimedia, and projections from the past fifty years to bring issues around topics as diverse as drag, gender dysphoria, beauty, storytelling, violence, and the celebration of self to the fore.

Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, Something for the Boys

In an exhibition which sets out to be playfully provocative, unsettling our basic conceptions of what the word “gender” means, audiences can experience queer art, subversive film, alter egos, and much more, through a range of very personal (and sometimes disturbingly raw) works.

Hunter Reynolds – Survival AIDS Memorial Dress
Martine Gutierrez, still from Clubbing

Kiss My Genders may not be to all tastes, but it utilising all the Hayward Gallery’s space it is sometimes unsettling to find an oversized rabbit suit on the floor, a wall of Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker stills, a sexually adventurous set of bum and cock photos, the eyes of a dying Candy Darling, a man dragged up as Marilyn Monroe, a hand poking through a pile of leaves at a crime scene.

Accompanied by a book with reproduction images and thoughtful essays, Kiss My Genders places itself firmly in the gender-fluid space of the 21st century, not just in celebration of its uniqueness, but also in acknowledgement of the wider society’s gaze.

Juliana Huxtable, Transexual Empire

Kiss My Genders continues at the Hayward Gallery until the 8 September. I found it an eye-opening and fascinating glimpse into this complex slice of life.