Claude Cahun

When the photographs of the French surrealist Claude Cahun were rediscovered in the nineteen-eighties and -nineties, they sent a thrill through the art world, which was astonished by what it saw. Today, it is still almost impossible to completely decode Cahun’s fantastic stagings. She plays with masquerades, with socially and sexually determined role models, disappearing behind masks and accessories, and appearing in public with a clean-shaven scalp. The writer’s photographic self-portrayals seem both radical and enigmatic, apparently anticipating, in the late nineteen-twenties, what the artists of the postmodern era would playfully perform for the camera forty years later.