Magic Mirror – Works by Sarah Pucill and Claude Cahun

Magic Mirrors - press photos

Magic Mirror: Exhibition of works by Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill

Date: Friday, April 17, 2015 to Sunday, June 14, 2015
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am-5pm
Address: Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ, UK

While I was visiting London art writer and editor Anna McNay invited me to join her and  we went to the opening of Magic Mirror, where we met artist Sarah Pucill. Magic Mirror consists of with vintage photos by Claude Cahun from The Jersy Heritage Trust Collection and filmmaker Sarah Pucill’s film Magic Mirror and her photographic works in which she acts, re-enacts and responds to the queer imagery of Claude Cahun’s works. I expecially loved Sarah Pucills cut out stop motion animations which started each ‘chapter’ of her film.

About The Exhibition – Excerpt From The Press release:

‘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 Gallery’s 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 will be shown in London, many for the first time.

Sharing an engagement with Surrealism, the layering of Pucill and Cahun’s 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.

 Phtograph by Claude Cahun

Pucill’s film Magic Mirror combines a re-staging of Cahun’s photographs and visualisation of written text from her book Aveux non avenus (Disavowals), transforming Cahun’s 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 will offer 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.

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).’

About Sarah Pucill

Sarah Pucill has been making experimental 16mm films since completing her MA at Slade in 1990. Since then her publicly funded films have been screened widely and won awards at major international film festivals as well as being staged in museums and galleries. Her retrospective screenings have included the Tate Britain, BFI Southbank, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Anthology Film Archives (NY), the Millenium, NY and LA FilmForum.

Her feature length film Magic Mirror premiered at Tate Modern in 2013 and has toured internationally with the LUX who published their second DVD of Pucill’s work Magic Mirror in 2014, which followed a compliation of her short films ‘Selected Films 1990-2010‘. She has received Arts Council funding for a second feature-length film that will embrace Cahun’s writing and images in colour. She lives and works in London and is a Reader at University of Westminster.

Anna McNay
Anna McNay at the exhibition with the catalogue and list of works, accompanying Magic Mirror.

Pioneering Photographer Claude Cahun

The Modern Lens: International Photography and the Tate collection
Tate St Ives: Exhibition
14 October 2014 – 10 May 2015

‘Pioneering artists from across Europe, the Americas and Japan will be shown at Tate St Ives for the first time in The Modern Lens. This will be the largest display of photographic works ever to be exhibited at the gallery.’ – Tate St Ives.

‘We sometimes think of abstraction and surrealism as opposing forces: the universal language of abstraction versus the personal language of surrealism, which was inspired by the unconscious. But this section of The Modern Lens suggests how these two currents sometimes converged in depictions of the landscape.

Claude Cahun in particular offers a really interesting point of connection in terms of landscape conflating abstraction and surrealism.’ – Tate.

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore at Jersey  Museum

Jersey  Museum and Art Gallery: On display in the Art Gallery you will find the work of Claude Cahun, recognised worldwide as one of the leading artists of the Surrealist movement. Jersey Museum cares for one of the largest collections of Cahun’s work, which comprises photographs, original manuscripts, first editions, books and other personal material.  Find out more about Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.

Claude Cahun at Jeu de Paume 2011

Claude Cahun – video by Jeu de Paume, France, 2011

The exhibition of Claude Cahun’s photographs at Jeu de Paume in Paris, France in 2011, and later exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 featured a wide selection of the artist’s works, some of which have seldom been exhibited. In the above video curators François Leperlier and Juan Vicente Aliaga discusses her work. Below art historian Amelia Jones discusses the ways Claude Cahun redefined the role of women in the arts.

No More Potlucks, a Canadian Print-on-demand Journal of Art, Politics and Culture

Hello and Happy New Year!

So excited to share two new interviews – on feminism, art, porn, collaboration, and representation – with artists A.L. Steiner and A.K. Burns in the current issue of No More Potlucks. It’s available online and print-on-demand.

Best wishes for a healthy, happy, productive 2012,

Anthea Black

The Cover of No More Potlucks, Issue 19NOMOREPOTLUCKS no. 19, Issue jan - fev. 2012.
Online and print-on-demand journal of art, politics and culture. (Cover right)

Allyson Mitchell, Jessica Whitbread & Alex McClelland

Riding the Wet, Wet Wave: An Interview with A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner on Community Action Center Anthea Black

Trending Homonationalism
Natalie Kouri-Towe

Elisha Lim and Rae Spoon: Talking Shop

The Women Tell Their Stories, and other poems
Ching-In Chen

“Whether thatʼs audio art or sound art, honestly I would say I couldn’t care less”: A conversation with Nancy Tobin
Owen Chapman

Switching Power: An Interview with A.L. Steiner
Anthea Black

Switching Power

Claude Cahun
Eloisa Aquino

Cripping Community: New Meanings of Disability and Community
Eliza Chandler

99 problems

« Issue de secours : à vous les militants »
Adleen Crapo

Production still by A.L. Steiner

Production still by A.L. Steiner

Related Links
Order your print copy:

Lover Other. The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel More

Trailer: Lover Other: The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel from Barbara Hammer on Vimeo

1920′s Surrealist artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore come to life in this hybrid documentary. Lesbians and step-sisters, the gender-bending artists lived and worked together all their lives. Heroic resisters to the Nazis occupying Jersey Isle during WWII, they were captured and sentenced to death.

Award-winning queer filmmaker Barbara Hammer (USA) infuses her film with vigor using photographs, archival footage, dramatic interludes of a “found Cahun script”, and unique interviews of Jersey Isle residents who knew the “sisters”.

Related Links
Barbara Hammer’s video stream at Vimeo
Barbara Hammer’s website

Claude Cahun Retrospective in Barcelona