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Title:The surface image and ulterior psyches: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore's anti-Nazi propaganda
Author(s):Bralower, Alyssa R
Advisor(s):Romberg, Kristin
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Claude Cahun, World War II, propaganda
Abstract:In 1937, the French Surrealist artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore moved from Paris to St. Brelade's Bay on the Isle of Jersey in anticipation of Nazi occupation of Paris. By 1940, the Isle itself became an occupied territory, and as queer Jewish artists, Cahun and Moore found themselves in danger yet again. Despite having the option to flee, they decided to remain on the Isle. From 1940–1944 the artistic collaborators and romantic partners launched an anti-Nazi resistance campaign under the identity, "The Soldier without a Name." Their acts of resistance took the form of a leafletting campaign, a satirical newspaper service that used surrealistic writing styles in an attempt to inspire an internal mutiny. This thesis argues that Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore's anti-Nazi resistance acts are a political performance that relies on multiple subject positions, invisibility, and absence as its dominant strategies. Cahun and Moore’s acts of anti-Nazi resistance were possible through a purposeful invisibility that allowed them to live a private life on the Isle as eccentric sisters at the same time that they dispersed anti-Nazi propaganda, which was attributed to "The Soldier without a Name," an anonymous German soldier. Scholars such as Louise Downie and Gen Doy have written about Cahun and Moore's work as anti-Nazi resisters, but their accounts are primarily historiographies. By analyzing Cahun and Moore's early surrealistic photographs and later political acts as anti-Nazi propagandists through the frame of performance, a deeper understanding of Cahun and Moore's artistic practice emerges, one that moves beyond the scope of the camera.
Issue Date:2016-07-15
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Alyssa Bralower
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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