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14.06.2011

 

Claude Cahun's self portraits at Jeu de Paume, Paris

Claude Cahun (1894-1954) was born Lucy Renée Mathilde Schwob, a daughter of a well-off, Jewish family of intellectuals in Nantes, France. Not necessarily a great beauty, neither as a man nor as a woman, she re-invented herself through medium such as self-portraits.

Poses, hairstyles, facial expressions – the Jea de Paume pays homage to the almost forgotten vanguard of emancipation a la Française and early political lesbian.

Together with her stepsister and life partner Suzanne Malherbe, Claude ran an artists’ salon in Paris for 15 years, until she fled from the Nazis to Jersey Island in 1937.

All her life, the communist opposed fascism and fought for freedom of thought and the emancipation of the individual. Following the occupation of the Channel Island through the Wehrmacht, the couple continued their antifascist movement through leaflets (against Nazis and local collaborators) and were sentenced to death in 1944.

Both were pardoned in 1945, but in the 10 months of their jail sentence, the Gestapo had plundered and pillaged their house and destroyed the majority of their work. Extracts of her diary are published on the Internet.

Nowadays, Claude’s works are considered groundbreaking for surrealists, modernists and all transgender enthusiasts, that is, for every creative mind.

Naturally, the genre is typecast very early on with men such as Man Ray, Hans Bellmer or André Kertész – but almost exclusively behind the camera and with considerably bigger financial success. But that is another story.
And another time.


Claude Cahun
Jeu de Paume
until the 25th of September 2011
1, place de la Concorde
75008 Paris
métro Concorde
information: 01 47 03 12 50

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun

JEU DE PAUME : Claude Cahun