The idea of ‘butch lesbian’ identity is much under attack in the present day. Such an integral part of lesbianism and lesbian history is being stolen, side-lined, rewritten and so being made invisible.
Claude Cahun was a French, Jewish, artist and photographer who explored themes of lesbian identity as part of her work.
Cahun worked in a European age incorporating the aftermath of revolution, fascism and World War. At the time radical political, social and cultural solutions and challenges were sought from art in defiance of the perceived bourgeois mainstream. Such art aimed to confront moral, religious and state conventions. However while many of Cahun’s fellow male ‘revolutionary avant-gardes’ still produced work that either ignored or objectified women while typically promoting heterosexuality, Cahun focused on challenging constructions of ‘femininity’ while highlighting her lesbian sexuality.
As the modernist art of the era privileged the male ‘genius’ painter, Cahun employed photography, both…
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