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Deleuze and the Animal$
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Colin Gardner and Patricia MacCormack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474422734

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474422734.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 January 2020

Un/Becoming Claude Cahun: Zigzagging in a Pack

Un/Becoming Claude Cahun: Zigzagging in a Pack

Chapter:
(p.140) Chapter 7 Un/Becoming Claude Cahun: Zigzagging in a Pack
Source:
Deleuze and the Animal
Author(s):

renée c. hoogland

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474422734.003.0008

Considered odd, obscene, a genius nonetheless, at the time she created her best-known works, French photographer and writer Claude Cahun (1894-1950) cuts a particularly unruly figure in literary criticism and art history. Her recalcitrant faux autobiography Aveux non avenus, [Disavowals, or, Cancelled Confessions] (1930), a book of essays and recorded dreams illustrated with photomontages, have encouraged the artist’s association with High Modernism and Surrealism while her photographic self-portraits have been claimed for an affirmative (feminist) gender politics. However, the proliferous and mercurial nature of Cahun’s disavowed confessions and self-stagings defy easy “domestication.” Instead she constructs a continuously shifting configuration of fragments and collages: assemblages of singularities that are always in a multiplicity, in a pack. Escaping dominant forms of expression, Cahun’s work has nothing to do with recognition or imitation, nor does it constitute a relation of representation. The chapter argues instead that Cahun presents us in both her writing and in her photographic work with the successful experience of becoming in the absence of any final term or form. A becoming-animal that moves beyond destruction into the zone of indiscernibility where a work, or, perhaps, an oeuvre comes into view—an oeuvre that nonetheless remains decidedly outlandish.

Keywords:   Cahun, Surrealism, Feminism, gender politics, multiplicity, pack

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