THE work of a French photographer that rejected the 'narrow confines' of gender in her photography will be exhibited in Oswestry until next month.

The work of Claude Cahun will be shown at Qube in Oswald Road until Monday, June 6, with a show called 'Beneath This Mask', which is on loan from the Southbank Centre in London.

A spokesman for Qube explained the background to Cahun, who was largely unknown during her lifetime, and said they were proud to hold the exhibition at the gallery in Oswestry.

"Born Lucy Schwob, the artist assumed the pseudonym Claude Cahun – a gender-neutral French forename coupled with her grandmother’s surname – in 1917," they said.

"With this new identity Cahun was able to distance herself from her well-known literary family and reject what she saw as the narrow confines of gender.

"While studying in Paris, Cahun became involved in the emergence of the surrealist movement.

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"Although she contributed texts to their early published works, Cahun operated on the margins of the surrealist movement and never became a member.

"To do so – in Cahun’s eyes – would have meant surrendering her own identity, the exploration of which formed the basis of her work.

"In 1938 Cahun escaped the impending Nazi occupation of France and fled to Jersey with her lover and collaborator Marcel Moore.

"It was in Jersey that Cahun began the photographic work that she is best know for: a series of theatrical tableaus which see the artist blur and distort her age, identity, gender and surroundings in order to assume different personas.

"Largely unknown during her own lifetime, Cahun’s photographs – many of which have only recently received critical attention – anticipate the work of contemporary artists, such as Cindy Sherman and Trish Morrissey, for whom the subversion of traditional portraiture and the constructed nature of identity and gender remain a pressing concern."

The Claude Cahun: Beneath the Mask exhibition will be on display at Qube Gallery in Oswald Road in Oswestry until June 6.

Entry is free and booking is not required. Qube is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and on Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

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