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A writer, photographer and activist associated with left-wing Surrealists in France in the s, Claude Cahun was the pseudonym of Lucy Schwob. In collaboration with her step-sister and lifelong partner Suzanne Malherbe, who adopted the name Marcel Moore, Cahun made written works, sculptures and collages that often explore gender identity. This is the original artwork made by Cahun and Moore for the frontispiece.
Cahun appears in enigmatic guises, playing out different personas using masks and mirrors, and featuring androgynous shaven or close-cropped hair—as can be seen in the multiple views of her in the lower left-hand side of this collage. The image also includes symbols made up by the women to represent themselves—the eye for Moore, the artist, and the mouth for Cahun, the writer and actor.
I will never be finished lifting off all these faces. This collage, made in collaboration with Moore, is the only original artwork for the images in the book to survive and shows Cahun adopting enigmatic guises in which the body is fragmented and mirrored.
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Sale Price realised EUR , Louise Downie ed. Un temps. Un point. Je recommence.
Aveux non avenus (Littérature)
The translation of the title original Aveux non Avenus was the cause of much controversy at the Tate. This translation — of a work that was always considered untranslateable — took me the best part of three years. Where the aim of literature is to set itself free it virtually eludes all criticism, particularly that of professional critics. This book is virtually entirely dedicated to the word adventure. Perhaps one should consider exactly how the author would define this word. I think that the adventure here is, by its very nature, interior, but it is presented to us in a series of cinematic glimpses which insist on the cerebral, rather than plastic, nature of the enterprise. This almost cruel poem is infused with a very peculiar light, emanating from emotional ingredients of perfectly human origin.
Disavowals (Aveux non Avenus) by Claude Cahun
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