“Visible-Invisible-Hypervisible”: Sketching the Reception of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore

JVF Conference Papers

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.

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