(Click on the images so you can see the non-cut-off versions)
Left: Claude Cahun, What Do You Want From Me?, 1928
Middle: Claude Cahun, Self-Portrait, 1928
Right: Claude Cahun, Aveux non Avenus, 1929-30
First, Claude Cahun was sort of… “rediscovered” in the 80s and appropriated to theories of identity that began to be circulated then. These included the fluidity and ambiguity of gender, and a multiplicity of the selves. Although I think it’s fair to say that Cahun might have had those types of things in mind in the 20s. Claude Cahun is a pseudonym that she did her work under, it is a gender ambiguous name. She was part of the Surrealist movement, but even within the movement, she did not garner much attention and was generally marginalized.
As you see in the photo on the right, her cape has a multitude of masks on it symbolizing a multiplicity of the self. In Aveux non Avenus, the writing says “Underneath this mask is another mask, I will never finish revealing all these faces”. Her work is anything but two-dimensional.