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Creating Cahun

An exhibition that highlights both the diversity and the unity of the photographic work of Claude Cahun (1894–1954) is currently on view at Paris’ Jeu de Paume, bringing together a broad ensemble of her major works, some of which are little known or have seldom been seen by the public.

By becoming at once both the object and the subject of her artistic experiments, Cahun reinvented herself through photography, using her own image to expose, one by one, the clichés of feminine and masculine identity.  With an acute sense of “performance,” dressed as a woman or as a man, with her hair short, long or shaven, the artist created photographs that involved the staging of objects, superposition of photos and photomontage. With this “theatre of objects” exploring visual and symbolic issues, she continued her speculations on self-metamorphosis.

By exploring the many different analyses and themes of Cahun’s work — from the nonconformist self-portraits that question identity, to her surrealist compositions, erotic metaphors and political perspectives — this exhibition confirms the modernity of a pioneering artist, who has been an important influence for many contemporary artists.

Though September 25, 2011
Jeu de Paume
1, Place de la Concorde 75008 Paris

Photos: Courtesy of Jeu de Paume

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