Sketching the Reception of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore [1]

“Sous ce masque un autre masque. Je n’en finirai pas de soulever tous ces visage.”[2] This quote of Claude Cahun from her book Aveux non avenus (1930), stands symbolically for a temptation art scholars may feel in the case of the cited artist: to try to lift up the faces and masks of Claude Cahun which seem to be visualized in her “self”-portraits[3]. My own fascination for Claude Cahun’s artistic work started with an attraction to exactly these “masks”, “faces” and body-images in her “self”-portraits and the stated temptation does not feel totally alien to me. But nevertheless, in the research for my PhD thesis I try to not fall myself into the trap of trying to reveal the “true” face of Claude Cahun. If one does not believe in either an “authentic self” or a “stable identity,” one should be aware of the problematics that emerge when dealing with the interpretation of self-portraits. Interpreting can be an attempt to try to make “sense” of something or to solve the confusion, irritation or sheer fascination it invokes in us individually when looking at something. But solving or “making sense” does not necessarily have to mean searching for some “truth” or “authenticity” of art. Thus, in the case of self-portraits it is tempting on the first glance to trace an insight into the artist represented in the picture, to some sort of “authenticity”.

The question “who is the ‘real’ person behind this artistic staging?” arises. But the answer to be found will never be that of a revelation of the “real” person – neither in the photographs nor beyond them. Self-portraiture in the medium of photography refers to the complex nature of photography in general: the idea that photography could depict some sort of “pure” reality is an illusion – and was so even before the age of digitally edited photography. The “reality” in a photograph is affected by all kind of different influences – the photographer, technical matters, light, the chosen frame, to name just a view. This is also not to forget the selection and staging of the photographed object. Self-portraits should therefore not be used by art scholars to find out more about the “inner life” of the artist represented. I oppose the idea that the artists of self-portraits could be psychoanalytically analyzed through their images. A self-portrait by an artist is an art manifestation which can be approached formally or contextually with different perspectives and methodologies and not as a print of the artist’s soul which is exposed.

In Claude Cahun’s “self”-portraits one can view her in multiple stagings: disguised in full figure in different clothes; her face in close-up with cropped or shaved hair; nearly never naked; and often her gaze sharply directed into the focus of the camera.[4] Claude Cahun appears rather as “selves” than one “self” in her portraits. There is no “authentic” Claude Cahun, no psychic state to be revealed through analyzing her pictures. I claim that one can not even read an intention out of her photographs. It might be intriguing to find out why Claude Cahun produced such an extensive amount of “self”-portraits but I claim one will never really know.

When searching for literature on Claude Cahun at the beginning of my research, I found an extensive academic reception of Claude Cahun. Although there still exist only one monograph on Claude Cahun from 1992[5] and a revised version of it from 2006[6], dozens of articles and chapters in books were published in the recent years. My interest in doing research on Claude Cahun gradually shifted from the question “What does it mean?” in the sense of an art studies-interpretation to “How does Claude Cahun’s art function in scholarship?” I gained the opinion that the reception history of Claude Cahun is an interesting example to analyze some particular strategies of meaning- and knowledge-making in the field of art studies in regard to subjects of academic interest. Therefore I decided to focus on the appropriation of Claude Cahun by scholars from different academic disciplines in the recent years.

In this paper, I will provide both an overview of the different aspects of the already extensive research, as well as focus on this particular history of reception to illustrate how historic persons are “reconstructed” by scholarship. By doing so, I will reflect not only on the problematics and traps of academic approaches to reconstruct historic persons, but also on my own position in academic research. Academic appropriations can quite easily cumulate not only in an un-reflected instrumentalization of the life and work of the research subject, but also in omissions for the sake of scholars’ interest which are not stated as such. I am aware of the danger to fall myself into this common trap of scholarship. In my view it is necessary to constantly reflect on the fact that scholars always act subjectively and powerfully upon those subjects and objects that “drag” into “visibility”, how they interpret them, what meaning they apply and what aspects they consciously or unconsciously leave out or expose. By analyzing the reception history of Claude Cahun and different interpretations of her art, my aim is not to judge interpretations as “right” or “wrong”. I rather want to stress the approaches of scholars from different academic disciplines. Many approaches result in one-dimensional analysis which ground on rigid disciplinary perspectives. Thus with my analysis of the reception history I aim to reflect on the strategies and methods that are often left un-reflected in the academic texts.

I am particularly interested in the fact that many scholars describe Claude Cahun’s artistic production in relation to ideas of radicality, subversion and transgression. On what basis do scholars ground a labeling of photographs by Claude Cahun as “subversive” more than 80 years after their nascency? Why do scholars often describe Claude Cahun as “avant la lettre” or as a precursor for contemporary artists such as Cindy Sherman[7]? These are questions I will deal with more thoroughly in my PhD dissertation. In the present text I will try to give a short overview of the history of academic reception on Claude Cahun and trace the travel of Claude Cahun as a subject of such a reception. It is a travel that takes her from what I call “visibility” to “invisibility” to today’s “hypervisibility”. I chose to present this topic at the IWM’s Junior Visiting Fellow Conference because it represents the main focus of my work during my stay at the institute so far.

When I use “visibility”, “invisibility” and “hypervisibility” I am aware that these terms are problematic. The way I use them might be unconventional since particularly the term “invisible” is commonly applied to marginalized or neglected persons, subjects and acts, and “making visible” thus used for the attempt to bring these persons, subjects and acts into the light of academic knowledge. But on the other hand I believe these terms to be fairly appropriate in the case of Claude Cahun since I trace a “visibility” of Claude Cahun’s work during her life-time, followed by an “invisibility” for decades, then some kind of rediscovery, a “making visible” of her art and life, and recently an overwhelming attention to her life and work in the field of art – some sort of “academic hype” or “hypervisibility”.


Let me start with a brief introduction – some biographical information on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore[8]: Claude Cahun was born as Lucy Schwob into a wealthy family of publishers and authors in Nantes in the year 1894.[9] At the lycée she met Suzanne Malherbe who later became her stepsister (Lucy Schwob’s father and Suzanne Malherbe’s mother married), life-long partner and artistic collaborator. While Suzanne Malherbe dedicated herself to visual arts and specialized in illustrations, Lucy Schwob wrote and published articles and poetic prose. Around 1915 they started to work under pseudonyms which in French can be used for both women and men: Suzanne Malherbe turned into Marcel Moore, Lucy Schwob into Claude Cahun. Both published texts and illustrations in Le Phare de la Loire and the Mercure de France – a daily journal and magazine published by members of the Schwob family and reached a wide intellectual audience in France.

Upon their settling in Paris they became a well-known couple in the circle of avant-garde artists and especially in the lesbian community with which they associated at a salon. Because of their origin from a wealthy family they had no financial problems and could fully concentrate on their artistic work. In the 1920s Claude Cahun participated in avant-garde theatre productions while Marcel Moore designed stage settings and costumes. In this period Claude Cahun also published two of her now extensively received literary works: “Héroïnes” (1925) and “Aveux non avenus” (1930), both with illustrations by Marcel Moore. In the 1930s the couple increasingly related to the Surrealist community and signed several political manifestos of communist groups which were composed mainly by Surrealist artists such as André Breton. In 1934 Claude Cahun published the political text “Les Paris sont ouvert” in which she deals with the relation between poetry and politics. Next to her political activities she kept producing artistic works such as photos and surrealist object-assemblages.

In 1937, under the threat of increasing anti-Semitism in France, the couple moved to the Jersey island where they purchased a house. After the Nazis occupied the island in 1940, the two “step-sisters”, as which they were known on Jersey, started resistance actions under the pseudonym “Der Soldat ohne Namen”. They tried to subvert the German system from within by supplying German soldiers with anti-war leaflets written in German (Suzanne Malherbe was capable of the language). When the Nazis arrested the sisters in 1944, the two were sentenced to death but the verdict was appealed. Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore survived their arrest. But Claude Cahun’s health was severely affected by the solitary confinement. After liberation they moved back to their house on Jersey in which most of the art works (including an amount of photos) had been destroyed by the Nazis. The plan to move back to Paris was never accomplished. Claude Cahun died in December 1954. Suzanne Malherbe decided to end her life in 1972.


When I use the term “visibility” for the reception of Claude Cahun’s artistic and political activities during her lifetime, I point to her extensive involvement in artistic, political and lesbian communities as well as her thoroughly documented public appearances. Artist-colleagues, journalists and friends refer to her in articles, publications and letters, for example André Breton[10] and the American journalist Golda M. Goldman[11]. I am aware that “visible” might be a problematic term to apply, as I have already mentioned earlier, but I use it so to emphasize the break in public and academic reception which occurred around her death. Scholars from the 1950s until the late 1980s did not mention her in works about Surrealist art.[12] No photos of her were exhibited, no texts republished. As an artist and as a historical agent Claude Cahun was simply “invisible” in the field of art for decades. The reasons for this long “invisibility” in scholarship certainly are complex ones and I can not yet define them clearly.

It was the French philosopher and author François Leperlier in the 1980s who finally got the ball rolling by the “rediscovery” of Jersey-locally held collections based on the estate of Suzanne Malherbe. Only through the Jersey collections, which were later purchased by the Jersey Heritage Trust, the photographic œuvre of Claude Cahun became “visible”. Ever since François Leperlier’s basic research, it is presumed by the entire scholarship that the so called self-portraits and other photos (with the exception of only one[13]) were never published during Claude Cahun’s life-time and it is also presumed that this was Claude Cahun’s own decision. Considering this, it is even more striking that the academic rediscovery of Claude Cahun in the beginning grounded mostly on the photographic œuvre. Thus, scholarship not only constitutes Claude Cahun’s photography as a private project but is also the main force behind making exactly this project widely publicized.[14]

The first solo exhibition of Claude Cahun’s photos took place in February 1992 in the Gallery Zabriskie in New York. It was the same year when François Leperlier published his monograph on Claude Cahun with the title “L’écart et la métamorphose” in France.[15] In the book he manifests a deep admiration for Claude Cahun and it appears as if he wants to draw as “true” a picture of Claude Cahun’s entire life and art as possible.[16] He describes her as a multidisciplinary artist[17], writer and political activist who constantly troubled the image of a stable identity, who revolved in metamorphoses, masks and mirror-games. He mainly praises the literary work but concerning the photos he goes as far as calling Claude Cahun the only existing female Surrealist photographer.[18] François Leperlier’s monograph and exhibitions in famous museums[19] all around the world were the catalyst spark for a reception which first started slowly, then steadily grew, and finally cumulated in something I would call an “academic hype” in the last few years.

In my opinion it is not mere coincidence that the rediscovery of Claude Cahun’s art took place in the 1990s. Although generalizations are risky, I would still claim that in this particular period of time, humanities as well as art practices in Europe and the USA became very interested in the concept of fissured and punctured identities and fragmented body images. In the beginning of the 1990s the feminist debate on the performativity of gender and the possibility of gender-blurring by shifting hegemonic gender norms gained a climax around the publication of Judith Butler’s books Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990) and Bodies That Matter: On the Discoursive Limits of “Sex” (1993). Claude Cahun’s gender-blurred stagings seemed to fit “perfectly” into such feminist debates. Some scholar’s even stated that Claude Cahun’s photos can be read as a kind of visualization of Judith Butler’s theory of “gender-trouble”.[20]

Feminist art scholars[21] were the first to introduce oppositional and critical academic positions toward François Leperlier although they all relied on his biographical research. In contrast to François Leperlier, feminist scholars in the 1990s mainly focused on the “self”-portraits and the aspect of gender-blurring. I quote Katy Kline: “Cahun’s achievement was to stretch, permeate, and infiltrate the established boundaries of gender definition.“[22] The American author Laura Cottingham was one of the first to accuse François Leperlier of not drawing enough attention to Claude Cahun’s lesbianism.[23] Indeed, Leperlier mentions only incidentally Claude Cahun’s lesbianism in his 1992’s monograph. He even states some alleged heterosexual affairs of hers without being able to prove them, including his idea that André Breton was the unfulfilled big love of Claude Cahun.[24] By claiming Claude Cahun’s lesbianism as being essential for her artistic work, Laura Cottingham however tries to prove a “lesbian aesthetics” of Claude Cahun through quotes from Cahun’s texts and photos. Thus, for example, Laura Cottingham reads the position of her hands in one particular “self”-portrait as a lesbian-sexual connotation of hands as a sexual organ.[25]

The opposition between feminist scholarship and François Leperlier’s feminism-critical approach distinguishes the academic reception on Claude Cahun – actually till today. For example, François Leperlier criticizes feminist scholars in a text from 1997 (the following quote is also a good example of Leperlier’s terms used in relation to Claude Cahun):

“Sie erstrebt in der Tat eine Aufhebung, eine Transfiguration aller Lebensweisen: Homosexualität, Bisexualität, Androgynie…Das Geschlecht des Engels! Diese radikale Atopie entreißt sie dem Einfluss jeder ideologisch-leidenschaftlichen Ausbeutung, den Feminismus mit einbegriffen.”[26]

Both François Leperlier and feminist scholars such as Shelley Rice[27] view Claude Cahun as “avant la lettre” and a precursor for contemporary artists such as Cindy Sherman. Another feature of the early feminist reception was the attempt to introduce her as an exceptional Surrealist women artist who worked differently than all other women related with Surrealism because, as for example Susan Rubin Suleiman states[28], she had refused the role play between male genius-artist and female muse and instead had positioned herself both as an object in front of the camera and as a subject behind the camera.

In my opinion, feminist scholars have contributed significantly to the academic reception of Claude Cahun. They often focus on gender-blurring in Claude Cahun’s photographs and texts and thus open up alternative frames of interpretation which were not to be found in François Leperlier’s initial research. Nevertheless, many feminist analyses show a tendency to “over”-focus on gender aspects which thus creates a limiting view on the artistic production of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore in general., In my view the art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore should not be restricted to the label “gender-trouble”; this also includes the tendency to limit the interpretation of their work to the domain of feminist theory. For researchers familiar with debates on the performativity of gender it is tempting to focus on a transgression of gender norms in Claude Cahun’s artistic work. Some of her “self”-portraits may be easily read as gender-blurring. But by doing so as present-day scholars, we apply terms and concepts on Claude Cahun’s and Marcel Moore’s photos that are contemporary to our time and not the historical context of the artists involved. This is legitimate and can be enhancing, only as long as it is critically reflected and not used in a restricting way, meaning as long as other possible aspects or possible interpretations of the artistic work are not disclaimed.

In my reading, the artistic production of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore – the visual art and the literary texts – deals with identity issues and attempts to portray fragmented, fissured and dissolved identities. In this case I would refer to gender as only one aspect of identity. If one understands an artistic work as a multi-layered sign-network, one could say that the gender aspect of Claude Cahun’s work is just one path through this network and there are many other possible paths which base on other signs.[29] I want to emphasize again that an interpretation should not aim to find the “authentic intentions” of Claude Cahun. Therefore I think that academic research should not label her as some sort of feminist “avant la lettre” since we will probably never know how she related to feminist ideas. The question should not be why Claude Cahun stages herself in the portraits the way she does, but rather why we (the scholars) today perceive these stagings/representations as radical and why we describe her as “avant la lettre” – how the stagings/representations function for us, under which circumstances, in which context and under which perspective.

At the beginning of the present text I already stated that I oppose psychoanalytical analysis by scholars of artists through their art. I do not believe that they can reveal anything more about the artists than pure speculations. In the case of Claude Cahun’s academic reception there exist some psychoanalytically based approaches which, for example, conclude with the thesis that Claude Cahun’s staging of multiple and gender-blurred identities as well as the fragmentation of her body in photomontages are signs for psychological disorder and anorexia.[30]


Since around the turn of the millenium the amount of academic texts on Claude Cahun’s work seems to have exploded. The strong disciplinary boarders were slightly transgressed and nowadays not exclusively art historians offer interpretations but also literature scholars, historians and theatre studies scholars. Only recently Miranda Welby-Everard published the first article – as far as I know – which focuses on the involvement of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore in theatre productions.[31] The author states the opinion that many of the “self”-portraits were made in the context of theatre roles of Claude Cahun as an actress. The Jersey Heritage Trust recently published a catalogue of their archival holdings on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore as well as a collection of articles on different aspects of the couple’s work and life.[32] The publication includes the first thorough analysis of Claude Cahun’s photographic technique by James Stevenson.[33]

While Claude Cahun slowly but constantly reached some sort of “hypervisibility” in the field of art studies, her partner Marcel Moore only became clearly “visible” in the last few years. Although François Leperlier and other authors already mentioned Marcel Moore as Claude Cahun’s lover and frequent collaborator, recent feminist approaches position Marcel Moore not only as an equal artistic collaborator of Claude Cahun, but some even ascribe to her the main creative force behind the photographs. Grounding on the thesis that the “self”-portraits were never intended for publishing or exhibiting, Julie Cole for example views Marcel Moore as the photographer and as the only intended audience of Claude Cahun’s stagings.[34] In relation to this scholarship, Tirza True Latimer questions what “social prejudices and artistic hierarchies the erasure of Moore accommodate”.[35] In his revised version of the monograph from 2006, François Leperlier gives in to the recent research results and dedicates a whole chapter to Suzanne Malherbe and the couple’s collaboration. [36] The afterward deals with François Leperlier’s own discovery of Claude Cahun and the recent academic reception and once again emphasizes strongly his rejection of feminist approaches.[37]

In my opinion the total exclusion of Marcel Moore’s contribution might have been an approach to install Claude Cahun as a genius-artist in the tradition of art historical canon- narratives. The “making visible” of Marcel Moore and the acknowledgment of her contribution offer an important new aspect to the couple’s artistic work – especially regarding “doing art”, practices and agency. But I want to emphasize the risk to romanticize their collaboration. Recent research could be read as just another approach to find the “true meaning” of Claude Cahun’s and Marcel Moore’s work.

Unfortunately, I do not have the opportunity here to adequately deal with more precise aspects of the reception history, for example the common use of the term “subversive” by scholars in relation to Claude Cahun.[38] I hope I have nevertheless managed to give you a hint of the various academic strategies of making Claude Cahun “visible”.


1. I am grateful to the Austrian Academy of Sciences who supports my PhD project with a DOC-Team fellowship and to the IWM who has offered me the best environment for my research I could ever think of. I want to thank all my colleagues at the IWM for inspiring and in-depth discussions on my research, especially Gudrun Ankele, Herwig Czech and Vern Walker (also for his comments on the final version of the present text). This text is a modified and extended version of the lecture I presented at the IWM Junior Visiting Fellow´s Conference in December 2006. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Edit Zsadanyi, Dr. Cornelia Klinger and Dr. Mieke Verloo whose comments on my lecture were very helpful and inspired me to elaborate some ideas more thoroughly for the present text. I would also like to thank my advisor Prof. Andrea Griesebner for the ongoing support and her comments on this text.

2. Claude Cahun: “Aveux non avenues” (1930). In: François Leperlier (Ed.): Claude Cahun. Écrits. Paris, 2002. p. 406. My own translation of the quote: “Underneath this mask another mask. I will never be finished lifting up all these faces.”

3. I put the word self in quotation marks because in my opinion in the case of Claude Cahun the art field reception has to deal with a very special form of self-portraits. As I will explain in more detail later in the text, I join the opinion of recent scholarly research which ascribes the staging of the portraits mainly to Claude Cahun herself but attributes the role of the photographer and contributor in the staging of the photography in most cases to Marcel Moore. Thus the traditional setting of self-portraits in which a person both acts as the object of the photograph and as the photographer is challenged in the case of Claude Cahun and her “self”-portraits.

4. An extensive collection of Claude Cahun´s and Marcel Moore´s photographs can be viewed on the homepage of the Jersey Heritage Trust, the holder of the biggest archive and collection in relation to Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. To view the photographs go to http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.org, click on “Catalogues“, then “Art”, “Artist´s Name” and search for Cahun, Claude.

5. François Leperlier: Claude Cahun. L´écart et la métamorphose. Paris, 1992.

6. François Leperlier: Claude Cahun. L´Exotisme intérieur. Paris, 2006.

7. Such relations between Claude Cahun and Cindy Sherman are made for example in Katy Kline: “In or Out of the Picture. Claude Cahun and Cindy Sherman.” In: Chadwick, Whitney (Ed.): Mirror Images. Women, Surrealisms and Self-Representation. Cambridge MIT/London. 1998. pgs. 66 – 81; François Leperlier:Claude Cahun. L´écart et la métamorphose. Paris. 1992; Shelley Rice (Ed.): Inverted Odysseys. Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman. North Miami/ New York, 1999.

8. The question can be stated, why biographical information is necessary at all when one is not interested in the question of meaning and the “why”, the intention. The biographical information is not intended here as a base for interpretations of the art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. It is rather the sketching of a context which influences the possibility of “doing art”. Also I decided to give a brief overview of the biographies because the information might be enhancing for my following reflections on the academic reception.

9. In the following, all biographical information is based on François Leperlier: Claude Cahun. L´écart et la métamorphose. Paris, 1992; François Leperlier: Claude Cahun. L´Exotisme intérieur. Paris, 2006; Kristine von Oehsen: “The Lives of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.” In: Louise Downie (Ed.): don´t kiss me. The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. London/Jersey, 2006. p.10 – 23.
Although I position myself in certain aspects critically toward François Leperlier´s research – as a historian especially when he does not cite the sources of documents he uses – I decided to rely on the biographical information he collected and published on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore since most of it can nowadays be proved by documents which are stored in the Jersey Heritage Trust on the Jersey Canal Island and the publication of Claude Cahun´s texts: François Leperlier (Ed.): Claude Cahun. Écrits. Paris. 2002.
Nearly all scholars refer to François Leperlier´s basic research concerning biographical information as does for example Kristine von Oehsen in her text for the Jersey Heritage Trust´s publication “don´t kiss me.” (see above).

10. For example in André Breton, André Parinaud:Entretiens. Paris. 1969: “Qui serait à la recherche d´une image vraiment évocatrice de cette époque la trouverait dans une brochure publiée en 1934 par Claude Cahun sous le titre Les paris sont ouvert.

11. Golda M. Goldman: “Who´s Who Abroad.” In: Chicago Tribune. European Edition. 1929. o.A./Jersey Heritage Trust Collection, JHT/2003/00001/27. To be found also in: Louise Downie (Ed.): don´t kiss me. The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. London/Jersey. 2006. p.226.
The journalist Golda M. Goldman dedicated two of the newspaper´s “Who´s Who Abroad” columns to Lucie Schwob and Suzanne Moore[sic]. Golda M. Goldman describes Claude Cahun as a radical daughter of a conservative family that “has broken away from practically every precept of a good French bourgeois family”. To Marcel Moore Golda M. Goldman ascribes the production of “a series of distorted photographs of her sister” which should probably be used in Aveux non avenus.

12. Including scholars related to the Second Feminist Wave.

13. A portrait of Claude Cahun featuring a distorted head was published in the Paris review Bifur in 1930. On this photograph see also Julie Cole: “Claude Cahun, Marcel Moore, and the Collaborative Construction of a Lesbian Subjectivity.” In: Reclaiming Female Agency. Feminist Art History After Postmodernism. Berkeley. Broude, Norma (Ed.) 2005. p. 343 – 359.

14. This fact is in my opinion hardly ever thoroughly reflected in academic texts on Claude Cahun.

15. François Leperlier:Claude Cahun. L´écart et la métamorphose. Paris, 1992.

16. Considering the most recent scholarship on Claude Cahun and François Leperlier’s new edition of the monograph from 2006, one has to question which aspects of Claude Cahun’s life and work François Leperlier conciously or unconsciously included or left out in his reconstruction of Claude Cahun’s life without reflecting or staging his point of view or strategies. I will deal with this question more thoroughly in my dissertation thesis.

17. Claude Cahun´s artistic production is a multidisciplinary project containing photography, writing, theater performances and object-assemblage.

18. Ibid. p.229.

19. Solo exhibitions of Claude Cahun´s work for example took place at the Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1995), the Galerie Berggruen in Paris (1995), the Ginza Artspace in Tokyo (1997), the Neue Pinakothek in München (1997), the Neue Galerie in Graz (1997), the Folkwang Museum in Essen (1997/1998), and the IVAM in Valencia (2001/2002).

20. Whitney Chadwick: “An Infinite Play of Empty Mirrors. Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representation.” In: Whitney Chadwick (Ed.): Mirror Images. Women, Surrealisms and Self-Representation. Cambridge MIT/London. 1998. p. 2 – 35.

21. Since I – myself a feminist art scholar – am aware of the problematic of subsuming many different scholars under the generalizing term “feminist”, which actually can stand for very heterogenic academic approaches and foundations, and although I feel kind of reluctant to do so, I decided to nevertheless use the term “feminist scholars” in the present text so to emphasize the common concerns of these approaches. The common concerns are a focus on women artists, gender issues and in an extension also lesbianism or queer-studies. Thus the term “feminist scholars” in the present context should rather emphasize a common concern than a certain methodology or fundamental base.

22. Katy Kline: “In or Out of the Picture. Claude Cahun and Cindy Sherman.” In: Whitney Chadwick (Ed.): Mirror Images. Women, Surrealisms and Self-Representation. Cambridge MIT/London. 1998. p. 76.

23. Laura Cottingham: “Betrachtungen zu Claude Cahun.” In: Heike Ander; Dirk Snauwert (Ed.): Claude Cahun. Bilder. München. 1997. p. XIX – XXIX.

24. François Leperlier: Claude Cahun. L´écart et la métamorphose. Paris. 1992. p. 159.

25. Cottingham, p.XXII.

26. François Leperlier: “Der innere Exotismus.” In: Heike Ander; Dirk Snauwert (Ed.): Claude Cahun. Bilder. München. 1997. p. XVI.

27. Shelley Rice (Ed.): InvertedOdysseys. Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman. North Miami/ New York. 1999.

28. Susan Rubin Suleiman:Dialogue and Double Allegiance. Some Contemporary Women Artists and the Historical Avant-Garde.” In: Whitney Chadwick (Ed.): Mirror Images. Women, Surrealisms and Self-Representation. Cambridge MIT/London. 1998. p. 128 – 154.

29. In my dissertation project I partly follow a concept of “multi-layered sign-networks” which was developed by Peter M. Boenisch in his book körPERformance 1.0. For further reading see Peter M Boenisch: körPERformance 1.0. Theorie und Analyse von Körper- und Bewegungsdarstellungen im zeitgenössischen Theater. München. 2002.
I understand the path I chose for my approach toward Claude Cahun´s art – the path of body signs and stagings – as just one possible path and not an “ultimate” interpretation key.

30. See for example in Florence Brauer: Claude Cahun. Speculum de la meme femme. PhD thesis. University of Colorado. 1996; Georgiana M.M. Colvile: “Self-Representation as Symptom: The Case of Claude Cahun.” In: Sidonie Smith; Julia Watson (Ed.): Interfaces. Women, autobiography, image, performance. Ann Arbor. 2002. p. 263 – 288; François Leperlier:Claude Cahun. L´écart et la métamorphose. Paris. 1992.

31. Miranda Welby-Everard: “Imaging the Actor: the Theatre of Claude Cahun.” In: The Oxford Art Journal. Band 29, 1. 2006. Seite 1 – 24.

32. Louise Downie (Ed.):don´t kiss me. The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. London/Jersey. 2006.

33. James Stevenson:Claude Cahun: An Analysis of her Photographic Technique.” In: Louise Downie (Ed.):don´t kiss me. The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. London/Jersey. 2006. p. 46 – 55.
I want to cite two of his thesis: “I do not think that Cahun can be considered to be a photographer in a truly professional sense.” (p. 55) “Regardless of who was actually the operator of the camera, my conclusion is that Cahun is clearly the author of the work, as she seems to have been completely in control of the photographic session.” (p. 55)

34. Julie Cole: “Claude Cahun, Marcel Moore, and the Collaborative Construction of a Lesbian Subjectivity.” In: Norma Broude (Ed.): Reclaiming Female Agency. Feminist Art History After Postmodernism. Berkeley. 2005. p. 343 – 359.

35. Tirza True Latimer: “Acting Out: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.” In: Louise Downie(Ed.): don´t kiss me. The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. London/Jersey. 2006. p. 56 – 71.

36. François Leperlier:“Vie et rêve de Moore”. In: Claude Cahun. L´Exotisme intérieur. Paris. 2006. p. 437 – 445.

37. François Leperlier:“Postface. L´Assomption de Claude Cahun”. In: Claude Cahun. L´Exotisme intérieur. Paris. 2006. p.447 – 465.

38. In my PhD dissertation I will analyze the reception history more thoroughly and also publish a bibliography on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore which aims to be as up to date and extensive as possible, although this might seem nearly impossible considering the “hyper”-amount of reception these days. During my research I gained the opinion that even the monographs and collections of articles on Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore provide strikingly incomplete bibliographies. Thus French or English publications mainly concentrate on literature in the same language. German or Austrian texts are rarely cited outside their countries of nascency.

IWM Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XXII/4Indecent Exposures

© 2007 by the author. Readers may redistribute this article to other individuals for noncommercial use, provided that the text and this note remain intact. This article may not be reprinted or redistributed for commercial use without prior written permission from the author. If you have any questions about permissions, please contact Klaus
at IWM.

Preferred citation: Peterle, Astrid. 2007. “Visible-Invisible-Hypervisible”: Sketching the Reception of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. In: Indecent Exposures, ed. V. Walker, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. 22.