Duality #1: Masculine/Feminine

Opening Reception Thursday, February 7th, 7-9pm
Click here for full details

These photos document Duality #1: Masculine/Feminine, a knit piece that serves as a reflection of my views on gender identity. It is widely held that while the categories of male and female exist, they exist as biological and social constructs, not truths. As trans-identified people have made evident, no biological imperative dictates if a person is male or female.

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Duality #1 can be seen as a visual model of how gender expression and identity function in relation to one another. Notions of an ideal male, wholly masculine, or of an ideal female, wholly feminine, are as unrealistic as the mannequins used for this piece. These ideals function as both poles and placeholders, useful and problematic. The knit patchwork unites these forms and places a more nuanced and holistic model of gender onto the rigid binary.

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The warm and vibrant pink contrasts with a cool and subdued grey. Original patterns with overtly phallic and vulvic motifs call attention to the subtle geometric “gendering” of traditional knitting patterns.  The unique texture created by the wild and unpredictable arrangement of knit swatches exposes the complexity of gender construction.

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Inspired by Aristophanes’ creation myth, Duality #1 hearkens back to a unified, pre-socialized form of gender in which “the sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, and the union of the two.”[1] Contemporary identity is comprised of a patchwork of gender expressions—the ways in which we perform masculinity and femininity. Dualities may appear as oppositional forces, but as I strive to show in this work, it is the relationship between the two poles that creates the whole.

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Come see Duality #1: Masculine/Feminine while it’s on exhibition in Los Angeles at Knit Culture Studio.

Special thanks to Knit Culture Studio, Gavy Kessler, Elanor Lynn, Jessica Ruvalcaba, and Emilie Odeile for all their help and support.


[1] Aristophanes. “Speech from Plato’s Symposium.” Benjamin Jowett, trans. Collected Works of Plato, 4th Edition. Oxford U. Press, 1953.

About Ben Cuevas

Ben Cuevas is a Los Angeles based interdisciplinary artist whose work spans a wide range of mediums including installation, sculpture, fiber, photography, video, performance, and sound. Often incorporating several of these elements into any given piece, he makes use of digital media as a means of documentation. In light of its pluralistic qualities, he sees his work as a reflection on the condition of embodiment, exploring what it means to have a body, to inhabit a body, to be a body incarnated in, and interacting with this world.

7 comments

  1. Mhm. delicious.

    Do you have plans to put this piece into action, say in a dance performance?

  2. Pingback: Ben Cuevas’ Two-Person Sweater #WearableWednesday « adafruit industries blog

  3. Pingback: In This Together.

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  5. Pingback: Best knitted projects of 2013 / Meilleurs projets de tricot de 2013 | Knitted Art

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