The programme of parallel activities to the Claude Cahun exhibition aims to link this artist to the present day by stressing her continued relevance to contemporary practices and discourses. This involves not only searching out present-day works, artists and discourses that look to Cahun as a precedent, but also exploring successive revampings of the critical frameworks through which ‘her work’ has been studied. Successive rereadings and fresh approaches to Cahun from different contexts have revealed the many different yet complementary facets to her creative practice.
SESSION 1: QUEER SPACES: PAULINE BOUDRY AND RENATE LORENZ
Presented by Juan Vicente Aliaga
Screenings: Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Normal Work (2007, 13 min, original language with subtitles), Salomania (2009, 17 min, original language with subtitles) and N.O.Body (2008, 15 min, original language with subtitles)
Wednesday 23 November 2011 at 7 pm
Thanks to the emergence of queer theories in the 1990s, the figure of Claude Cahun underwent something of a rediscovery, above all in connection to her visual, photographic work, without forgetting her valuable literary contributions. Based on work by Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, who delve through past materials to uncover and rescue unrepresented or unread moments of queerness in history, this session aims to push the limits and expand on the set resources for approaching the queer world from the visual arts.
SESSION 2: FOUR-HANDED SELF-PORTRAIT: EMOTIONAL PERFORMATIVITY
Barbara Hammer and Virginia Villaplana in conversation
Screenings: Barbara Hammer, Lover Other: the Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore (2006, 55 min, original language with subtitles) and Tender Fictions (1995, 50 min, original language with subtitles)
Thursday 15 December 2011. 6 pm, screening of Tender Fictions; 7 pm, talk and Lover Other
The relationship between Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore questions the monosemous ‘I’ of a self-portrait created collaboratively by four hands. This unique piece by the couple injects a sense of creative performativity into everyday life in a way that can be interpreted as an intimate game. This session looks at ways of understanding art as ‘emotional politics’ with regard to intimacy and space for everyday actions. The Barbara Hammer session takes the form of a talk with Virginia Villaplana about the paths followed by narratives on intimacy, emotional politics and the self-representation of lesbian identities in experimental filmmaking.
SESSION 3: PARIS WAS A WOMAN
François Leperlier, Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss in conversation
Screening: Greta Schiller, Paris Was a Woman (1996, 75 min, original language with subtitles)
Tuesday 10 January 2012 at 7 pm
Only relatively recently have exhibitions and critical texts focused explicitly on the figure of Cahun as a lesbian. It also took some time for light to be shone on her emotional, and above all creative, relationship with Suzanne Malherbe / Marcel Moore. Any look at Cahun and Moore’s work has to take account of the couple’s ties to a community of women, many of them lesbians, who found themselves in the same place (Paris) at the same time (the interwar period): Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier, Janet Flanes, Marie Laurencin, Tamara de Lempicka, Colette, Romaine Brooks, Djuna Barnes and Natalie Barney, amongst others.
SESSION 4: QUEER SURREALISM
Presented by James Boaden
Screenings: Steven Arnold, The Liberation of Mannique Mecanique, (1967, 15 min, silent) and Luminous Procuress (1971, 74 min, original language with subtitles)
Thursday 19 January 2012 at 7 pm
Rooted in Cahun’s ties to surrealism, this session explores what could be called ‘queer surrealism’ through the films of Steven Arnold. In the early 1970s photographer and filmmaker Steven Arnold created wild, extravagant, psychedelic worlds in which the actors blurred gender boundaries. As an artist he was a protégé of Salvador Dalí (who invited the film actors to the opening of his museum in Figueres) and, like Cahun, his works make use of masks and subvert gender identity by employing clearly surrealist resources. Moreover, Arnold links surrealism to work by acclaimed contemporary artists such as Mike Kelley and Ryan Trecartin. Created and presented by James Boaden, this session carefully weaves together many different references, materials and timeframes.
A project for La Virreina Centre de la Imatge