An exhibition that includes 21 original Claude Cahun images from Jersey has opened at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) in San Francisco.
The exhibition is called ‘Show me as I Want to Be Seen’ and presents a group of artists engaging in what the CJM describes as “the notion of self-presentation as a fluid and multifarious entity”.
Claude Cahun’s work is at the centre of the exhibition and there are more of her works than any other artist.
Jersey Heritage loaned the 21 pieces to the CJM and these were carefully transported to San Francisco last month by Jersey Heritage Conservator Neil Mahrer for installation at the museum. The exhibition runs until July 2019.
Val Nelson, Jersey Heritage’s Senior Registrar, who oversees loans from the charity’s collections, said: “San Francisco is the latest of Claude’s overseas adventures. We have lent parts of our collection to museums in, among many others, Tokyo, Sydney, Paris, Chicago, Barcelona, Copenhagen and New York.
“There is huge international interest in Claude Cahun and we are lucky to have the best collection of her work in the world. Our pieces have appeared in more than 50 exhibitions since we acquired the collection in 1995.”
However, there has to be a balance between allowing the images to be seen by the public and preserving them for the future. Val said: “Claude Cahun is so relevant at the moment. She was way ahead of her time – it’s quite incredible to think that she was creating this kind of work 100 years ago. And it is because of the age of her work that, despite the massive interest, we have to restrict the occasions that we lend people the originals.
“We usually stipulate that the images cannot be on display for more than three months in any 12-month period to prevent damage from light exposure. They then go into dark storage for the remainder of the year. On this occasion, they will be on display in San Francisco for a little longer so they will go into storage for a full 12 months.”
In addition to San Francisco, prints of the original Claude Cahun images are in five exhibitions elsewhere.
Jon Carter, Chief Executive of Jersey Heritage, said: “We are very proud of our Claude Cahun collection and the international interest it draws helps to shine a light on Jersey’s fascinating and varied heritage. For a small place, the Island punches well above its weight on the international stage, whether it is surrealist images going on display or world-renowned archaeologists visiting the Island to discover more about our Ice Age history.”
Photo by Gary Sexton Photography