Claude Cahun, Untitled, gelatin silver print, 2011
Born in France in 1894 as Lucy Schwob, she took the gender ambiguous pseudonym Claude Cahun in 1919. Her stepsister and life long lover, Suzanne Malherbe (Marcel Moore), helped Cahun to take her numerous gender-bending self-portraits that expose the artifice of identity.
When France became overrun by German forces in WWII, they started a resistance movement, papering their town of Jersey with anti-Nazi propaganda which included Cahun’s poetry. Posing an obvious threat to the German occupiers, they were arrested and sentenced to death, though their sentences were never carried out.