Lover Other: The Story Of Claude Cahun And Marcel Moore

Barbara Hammer’s collage of photographs, documents, interviews, lyrical passages and dramatised scenes recalls the lives of two surrealist artists and lesbian Resistance fighters whose work and whose fate has largely been forgotten: Claude Cahun (whose real name was Lucie Schwob, 1894–1954) and her girlfriend and lover Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe, 1892–1972). Claude Cahun (writer Marcel Schwob’s niece) and Marcel Moore were half-sisters. They fell in love around 1910 and were to spend their whole lives together; they are commonly regarded as the first lesbian couple to live and work together as artists. After studying in Oxford and at the Sorbonne, Claude Cahun made a name for herself as a writer and photographer in Paris. Her self-portraits in particular, wearing an array of different masks and costumes, were to make her famous, while Marcel Moore began to gain a reputation as an illustrator and draughtswoman. In 1932/33 they joined the anti-fascist artists association AEAR (Association des Ecrivains et Artistes Révolutionnaires), and in 1937 they moved to Jersey, one of the Channel Islands.
When the Germans occupied Jersey in 1940, the two girlfriends embarked upon a campaign of artistic resistance, putting up posters, writing manifestos and pamphlets with which they hoped to incite the occupying forces to mutiny. In 1944, both women were arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced to death; the majority of their artistic output was destroyed. They were released from imprisonment after the island was liberated in May, 1945. Claude Cahun was never to recover from the experience.
by Barbara Hammer
with Kathleen Chalfant, Marty Pottenger, Alana Chazan, Yves Musard
USA 2006 55’

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