She collaborated with the poet Marc-Adolphe Guégan, producing illustrations for two of his books.
She was born in Nantes and died in Jersey in 1972. She was buried with her partner Claude Cahun in St Brelade's Church.
Claude Cahun (25 October 1894 – 8 December 1954) was a French artist, photographer and writer. Her work was both political and personal, and often undermined traditional concepts of gender roles. Though Cahun's writings suggested she identified as agender, most academic writings use feminine pronouns when discussing her and her work, as there is little documentation that gender neutral pronouns were used or preferred by the artist.
Born in Nantes as Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob, Claude was the niece of an avant-garde writer Marcel Schwob and the great-niece of Orientalist David Léon Cahun. She was brought up by her grandmother, Mathilde Cahun.
She began making photographic self-portraits as early as 1912, when she was 18 years old, and she continued taking images of herself through the 1930s.
Claude Cahun was a French artist, photographer and writer. During the early 20s, they settled in Paris with their lifelong partner and stepsibling Suzanne Malherbe, whom they met at the lycée. For the rest of their lives together, Cahun and Malherbe collaborated on various written works, sculptures, photomontages and collages. Around 1922 Claude and Malherbe began holding artists' salons at their home. Claude and Suzanne are buried together at St Brelade's Church in the island of Jersey.
Claude Cahun & Suzanne Malherbe are buried together at St Brelade's Church in the island of Jersey.
Around 1919, she changed her name to Claude Cahun, after having previously used the names Claude Courlis (after the curlew) and Daniel Douglas (after Lord Alfred Douglas). During the early 20s, she settled in Paris with her lifelong partner and step-sibling Suzanne Malherbe. For the rest of their lives together, Cahun and Malherbe (who adopted the name "Marcel Moore") collaborated on various written works, sculptures, photomontages and collages. The two published articles and novels, notably in the periodical "Mercure de France", and befriended Henri Michaux, Pierre Morhange and Robert Desnos.
Around 1922 Claude and Malherbe began holding artists' salons at their home. Among the regulars who would attend were artists Henri Michaux and André Breton and literary entrepreneurs Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier.
Cahun's work encompassed writing, photography, and theater. She is most remembered for her highly staged self-portraits and tableaux that incorporated the visual aesthetics of Surrealism.
Her published writings include "Heroines," (1925) a series of monologues based upon female fairy tale characters and intertwining them with witty comparisons to the contemporary image of women; Aveux non-avenus, (Carrefour, 1930) a book of essays and recorded dreams illustrated with photomontages; and several essays in magazines and journals.
In 1932 she joined the Association des Écrivains et Artistes Révolutionnaires, where she met André Breton and René Crevel. Following this, she started associating with the surrealist group, and later participated in a number of surrealist exhibitions, including the London International Surrealist Exhibition (New Burlington Gallery) and Exposition surréaliste d'Objets (Charles Ratton Gallery, Paris), both in 1936. In 1934, she published a short polemic essay, Les Paris sont Ouverts, and in 1935 took part in the founding of the left-wing group Contre Attaque, alongside André Breton and Georges Bataille.
In 1994 the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London held an exhibition of Cahun's photographic self-portraits from 1927–47, alongside the work of two young contemporary British artists, Virginia Nimarkoh and Tacita Dean, entitled Mise en Scene. In the surrealist self-portraits, Cahun represented herself as a dandy, skinhead and androgyne, nymph, model and soldier.
In 1937 Cahun and Malherbe settled in Jersey. Following the fall of France and the German occupation of Jersey and the other Channel Islands, they became active as resistance workers and propagandists. Fervently against war, the two worked extensively in producing anti-German fliers. Many were snippets from English-to-German translations of BBC reports on the Nazis' crimes and insolence, which were pasted together to create rhythmic poems and harsh criticism. The couple then dressed up and attended many German military events in Jersey, strategically placing them in soldier's pockets, on their chairs, etc. Also, they inconspicuously crumpled up and threw their fliers into cars and windows. In many ways, Cahun and Malherbe's resistance efforts were not only political but artistic actions, using their creative talents to manipulate and undermine the authority which they despised. In many ways, Cahun's life's work was focused on undermining a certain authority, however her specific resistance fighting targeted a physically dangerous threat. In 1944 she was arrested and sentenced to death, but the sentences were never carried out. However, Cahun's health never recovered from her treatment in jail, and she died in 1954. She is buried in St Brelade's Church with her partner Suzanne Malherbe.
In many ways, Cahun's life was marked by a sense of role reversal, and her public identity became a commentary upon the public's notions of sexuality, gender, beauty, and logic. Her adoption of a sexually ambiguous name, and her androgynous self-portraits display a revolutionary way of thinking and creating, experimenting with her audience's understanding of photography as a documentation of reality. their poetry challenged gender roles and attacked the increasingly modern world's social and economic boundaries. Also, Cahun's participation in the Parisian Surrealist movement diversified the group's artwork and ushered in new representations. Where most Surrealist artists were men, and their primary images were of women as isolated symbols of eroticism, Cahun epitomized the chameleonic and multiple possibilities of genders and of the body. Her photographs, writings, and general life as an artistic and political revolutionary continue to influence countless artists, namely Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin and Del LaGrace Volcano.
Cahun's collected writings were published in 2002 as Claude Cahun – Écrits (ISBN 2-85893-616-1), edited by François Leperlier.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4384833.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.