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Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob; born Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob, Nantes, France, 25 Oct. 1894-8 Dec. 1954); 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. In 1929 Cahun translated Havelock Ellis' theories on the third gender.
...her 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....
In 1994 the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London held an exhibition of Cahun's photographic self-portraits from 1927-47... entitled Mise en Scene. In the surrealist self-portraits, Cahun represented herself as a dandy, skinhead and androgyne, nymph, model and soldier.
....David Bowie wrote: You could call her transgressive or you could call her a cross dressing Man Ray with surrealist tendencies. I find this work really quite mad, in the nicest way. Outside of France and now the UK she has not had the kind of recognition that, as a founding follower, friend and worker of the original surrealist movement, she surely deserves....
Nothing could better do this, I thought, than to show her photographs through the digital technology of the 21st century and in a setting that embraces the pastoral sanctuary of her last years.
....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. (Wikipedia)