Self-Portrait, 19__, Claude Cahun/Marcel Moore via Jersey Heritage Trust
Self-Portrait, 1928, Claude Cahun/Marcel Moore via Don’t Kiss Me
Self-Portrait, 1916, Claude Cahun/Marcel Moore via Jersey Heritage Trust
“In vain, in Disavowals I tried as hard as I could -- with black humor, provocation, defiance -- to force my contemporaries out of their sanctimonious conformism, out of their complacency.”
- Claude Cahun, letter to Paul Levy
Claude Cahun treats gender as a social construct, not an inherent categority. With that liberty, Cahun uses photography as a stage to transform their image; at times androgynous, at others more feminine, more masculine, or (more frequently) neuter. Contemporary ideas were beginning to emerge around their time of womanliness and femininity as something performed -- a mask. Gender is typically a categorization felt to be an integral part of identity, but Cahun is shown here trying them on and off like costumes.