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Breaking the Rules: Gender, Photography and Performance from Claude Cahun to Today

Saturday, May 9, 2015
Opening Hours: 
4pm - 6pm
Nunnery Gallery & Carmelite Cafe, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ

Panel talk and discussion (Followed by drinks in the Carmelite Cafe)

Talk and discussion with an exciting panel of creative directors, arts historians, writers and their many other talents - Ingo Andersson, Liena Vayzman and Juliet Jacques will join curator of Magic Mirror Karen Le Roy Harris to discuss ideas of resistance, performance, gender and identity both in the art and life of Claude Cahun, but also its relation to today and their own experiences.

The discussion will take place 9th May - an historical day (70 years ago) when Jersey was liberated from the Nazi occupation in WW2 when Claude Cahun (1894-1954) could be released after being imprisoned for her resistance activities. Cahun was defiant, she resisted conformities and performed multiple identities. Both her writing and photography explored and played on gender, once stating: “Masculine? Feminine? But it depends on the situation. Neuter is the only gender that always suits me.” For Cahun ‘Performing’ an identity whether it be gender or a disguise during Nazi resistance, self-reinvention existed throughout her life and art. 

The panel will give an insightful exploration of both history, photography, gender and identity and the role ‘Performance’ and gender plays both in reflection of the work of Cahun and it’s relevance today. 

Tickets available here:

Drinks and food will be available at the Carmelite Cafe before and after the event for those wanting to carry on discussions and enjoy some spring time drinks. The event takes place at the Nunnery Gallery where you can visit from 10am to see Magic Mirror, an exhibition of works by Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill, featuring both photography and film. Find out more about the show here.


Juliet Jacques is a freelance author, best known for writing the Transgender Journey series for The Guardian, and which was long listed for the Orwell Prize in 2011. She was included in The Independent’s Pink Lists for 2012, 2013 and 2014, and is a regular blogger for The New Statesman. Her journalism and short fiction has also appeared in The London Review of Books, TimeOut, The New Humanist, The New Inquiry, Five Dials, 3am and many other publications and websites. Her memoir, entitled Trans, will be published on Verso in September 2015.

Liena Vayzman is an Art historian specializing in modern and contemporary art; history of photography; and gender and sexuality in the arts. She wrote her PhD dissertation on Cahun. She curated Film and Video Festival and new media projects for Artists Television Access (San Francisco). Her writing appears in, Art Practical, XTRA, Huffington Post, academic journals, and exhibition catalogues including Magic Mirror. 

Ingo Andersson is a Creative Director and Producer of Wotever World, an ideas person who makes things happen. Since 2003 they have devoted their life to making London (Europe, The World) a bit more Queer and Fabulous. Running: Bar Wotever, Wotever DIY Film Festival, Female Masculinity Appreciation Society, Queer Fayre, Queer Experiments, Wotever Balls, Weimar Cabaret and one off events. They also lecture and talk about creative solutions in event management.