This Claude Cahun's exhibition brings together a broad ensemble of major works, some of which are little known. The photographs of objects that she began in the mid-1920s and developed throughout the 1930s continue her speculations on self-metamorphosis. 'Santu Mofokeng, Chasing Shadows - 30 years of photographic essays' presents a selection of more than 200 images, texts and documents. The photographic essays he composed over the years, some of which are a life-long work in progress, range from the Soweto of his youth, the everyday life of the township.
curated by François Leperlier and Juan Vicente Aliaga
This exhibition at Jeu de Paume, the first one on such scale to be held in France for sixteen years, brings together a broad ensemble of major works, some of which are little known or have seldom been exhibited. It highlights both the diversity and the unity of the photographic work of Claude Cahun (1894-1954).
Without a doubt, it is her self-portraits that have aroused the greatest interest among theoreticians of contemporary culture. Here the artist uses her own image to expose, one by one, the clichés of feminine and masculine identity. Claude Cahun (née Lucy Renée Mathilde Schwob) reinvented herself through photography (just as she did in her writing), posing for the lens with an acute sense of “performance,” whether dressed as a woman or as a man, with her hair short, long or shaven (which was extremely incongruous for women at this time). However, to speak of identity is also to speak, indirectly, of the body, and by the same token of the self-image that one projects and that becomes social as soon as it is shared. Unlike other artists – mainly men – who made portraits but never or very rarely exposed their own person to the lens (Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, André Kertész), Claude Cahun was at once the object and the subject of her artistic experiments. This is borne out by the care with which she chose her poses and expressions, the backgrounds she used (fabric, bedspreads, sheets, hangings), and her use of specific props (masks, capes, overgarments, glass balls, etc.) – even if the real focus of the image was still the face.
Some of these propositions can be found in the photographs of objects that she began in the mid-1920s and developed throughout the 1930s. The exhibition emphasises the highly innovative quality of these experiments in which she explores questions and visual and symbolic procedures (staging, superposition of photos, photomontage) that continue her speculations on self-metamorphosis.
Exhibition coproduced by Jeu de Paume, Paris, la Vireina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona and The Art Institute of Chicago.
With thanks to Renaissance Paris Vendôme Hôtel.
A Nous Paris, Azart Photographie, Arte, Artinfo France, de l’air, Radio Nova
As part of the exhibition, showing of the movie "Playing a Part: The Story of Claude Cahun", by Lizzie Thynne (2005, black and white / colours, 45’, English with French subtitles), made with the support of the Arts & Humanities Research Council, Jersey Arts and Sussex University.
Chasing Shadows. 30 years of photographic essays
curated by Corinne Diserens
The exhibition and the accompanying book bring together a unique selection of the photographic essays made by Santu Mofokeng over the last thirty years.
Well-known from his projects Black Photo Album/Look at me: 1890-1900s, Township Billboards: Beauty, sex and cell phones, Trauma Landscapes and Chasing Shadows, the South African artist took the opportunity of the invitation for this show and the production of his first comprehensive monograph, to delve deep into his artistic archive.
"Santu Mofokeng, Chasing Shadows – 30 years of photographic essays" presents a selection of more than 200 images (photographs and a slideshow), texts and documents. The photographic essays he composed over the years, some of which are a life-long work in progress, range from the Soweto of his youth, from his investigations of life on the farms, the everyday life of the township and in particular, representations of the self and family histories of black South Africans, to images from the artist’s ongoing exploration of religious rituals and of typologies of landscapes, including his most current project Radiant Landscapes, commissioned specially for this retrospective.
The exhibition “Santu Mofokeng, chasseur d’ombres – 30 ans d’essais photographiques” is organised by Jeu de Paume, Paris, Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, Kunsthalle Bern, and Bergen Kunsthall.
The show is supported by deBuren, Brussels and the Institut Français, in collaboration with the Ville de Paris/Institut Français international residency programme at Les Récollets.
Jeu de Paume gratefully acknowledges special support from NEUFLIZE VIE, its global partner, for the exhibition “Santu Mofokeng, chasseur d’ombres - 30 ans d’essais photographiques.”
With thanks to the Embassy of South Africa, Paris.
À Nous, Artinfo France, Azart Photographie, Courrier international, de l’air, Polka Magazine, La Tribune, RFI.
Image: Claude Cahun, Autoportrait, 1929
Tirage gélatino-argentique 14 x 9 cm
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
© Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris / Parisienne de Photographie
Press contact: Carole Brianchon: 33 (0)1 47031322 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening on the 23rd of May
Jeu de Paume
1, place de la Concorde 75008 Paris
Hours Tuesday: 12:00 - 21:00
Wednesday - Friday: 12:00 - 19:00
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 - 19:00
Admission: 8,50 €
Concessions: 5,50 €