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Beyond Representation: Claude Cahun's Monstrous Mischief-Making
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 06:54 authored by Laura Bailey, Lizzie ThynneLizzie Thynne
This article explores how Claude Cahun's photography interrogates vision as a means of control and categorization of the 'other', particularly in relation to sexological and psychoanalytic discourses. In the sustained project of self-invention which she undertook with her lifelong lover and step sister, Marcel Moore (1892-1972), her key strategies are parody and the ironic reversal of dominant representations of gender, sexuality and race. These are examined firstly in her mimicry of the portraits of paternal 'others', and then through analysis of the strategic deployment, veiling, and pathologizing of her Jewish and 'third sex' identity in her images, her real life performances, her writing and her objects. Key words: Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob)(1894-1954), Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe) (1892 - 1972),'third sex',monstrous, Havelock Ellis (1839- 1959),abject.
JournalHistory of Photography
Department affiliated with
- Media and Film Publications
NotesThynne was the lead author of this article. The article draws on some of the images and writing by Cahun and Moore which were creatively explored in Thynne's film 'Playing a Part: the Story of Claude Cahun'(2004) but in this written examination the authors provide a broader, discursive argument about how the couple's photography interrogates vision as a means of control and categorization of the 'other', particularly in relation to sexological and psychoanalytic discourses.
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