Two women with the same mission, but with years between them. Claude Cahun (1894-1954) and Gillian Wearing (1963-) have been paired for their artistic similarities and vision. Both women dedicated their art to challenging self image and exploring themes around identity and gender. For the first time the National Portrait Museum in London will be exhibiting Cahun and Wearing together.
Each artist uses disguises, masks, or props to create or recreate images. The most well known image of Claude Cahun is of her dressed in the style of a 1920’s mime. Adorned with kiss-curls, Clara Bow lips, and hearts painted with rouge on her cheeks. She wears a while leotard with black nipple coverings and text reading “I AM IN TRAINING DON’T KISS ME.” Gillian Wearing adopted this idea and recreated her own version of Claude Cahun. With similarities in styling except Wearing is wearing a mask of Cahun and is holding a mask of her own face. This photo was dubbed “Me As Cahun, Holding A Mask of My Face”.
Their work and life have taken a parallel path, both pressing and bending gender roles, exploring the boundaries of identity, and creating art that speaks and influences the masses. It was destined that their work to be shown together in their similarities and differences. The exhibition will be at the National Portrait Museum in London from March 9th- May 29th 2017.