LONDON.- Nunnery Gallery
presents Magic Mirror - a major exhibition of work by French Surrealist artist Claude Cahun and contemporary British artist filmmaker Sarah Pucill. Curated by Karen Le Roy Harris the exhibition runs from 17 April - 14 June 2015 and is part of the Nunnery Gallerys 2015 In Dialogue season, a year-long exploration of partnerships, artistic inspirations and deeply involved relationships between the artist and the muse. Photographs by both artists are being shown in London, many for the first time. The exhibition coincides with Jersey Heritages landmark retrospective of Cahun and Marcel Moore.
Sharing an engagement with Surrealism, the layering of Pucill and Cahuns work embraces the uncanny in relation to the inanimate. Their work explores the idea of a multiple self and of looking, as both artists assert a queer gaze between mirror, camera and across two centuries.
Pucills film Magic Mirror combines a re-staging of Cahuns photographs and visualisation of written text from her book Aveux non avenus (Disavowals), transforming Cahuns work from still to moving image, whilst exploring the relationship between word, photography and sound in film.
Called one of the most curious spirits of our time by André Breton, the exhibition offers a unique perspective on the work of Cahun, who used subversive avant-garde art practice as a form of resistance in Nazi occupied Jersey during WW2.
Pucills dialogue with Cahun repositions her within a post-modern context with gender, self and identity at the centre of discourse. Through text, photography and film, the exhibition mixes and questions authorship, medium and identity. The exhibition title Magic Mirror and title of Pucills film has come from Cahuns words; A portrait of one or the other. Our two narcissisms drowning in it. It was the impossible realised in a magic mirror.
Cahun (born Lucy Schwob) continually challenged social conformities. Known for her writings she published articles in journals and in 1929 translated Havelock Ellis theories on the third gender, which forms part of the gender neutral position Cahun took. Masculine? Feminine? But it depends on the situation. Neuter is the only gender that always suits me (Claude Cahun). She was part of the Théâtre Esoterique and this element of staging and masquerade are carried through to her work. Cahuns history and many selves will be explored throughout the show. Her performative play with gender, identity, surrealism, fashion photography and tableux vivants were a precursor to the next wave of female artists and photographers such as Francesca Woodman and Cindy Sherman. Pucill develops Cahun's themes, taking inspiration by weaving in her relationship with a dead artist, and by bringing her words and images to life in film.
Sarah Pucills films, which span over two decades, have been screened at major international film festivals with her ambitious feature length 16mm b/w film Magic Mirror being premiered at the Tate Modern. Her films and photographs explore a sense of self which is transformative and fluid. At the core of her practice is a concern with mortality and the materiality of the filmmaking process. The exhibition will feature both her feature film and unseen photographic work.