fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Claude Cahun and Lise Deharme
La Biennale di Venezia

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Claude Cahun and Lise Deharme

1894, France – 1954, UK
1898 – 1980, France

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

In 1937, having already earned something of a reputation on the Parisian cultural scene, the French artists Lise Deharme and Claude Cahun published the short children’s book Le Cœur de Pic, which tells the title character’s surreal story through thirty-two brief poems by Deharme and twenty photographs by Cahun. On the cover, the protagonist brandishes the queen of spades playing card like a banner: a clear reference to Deharme’s nickname among the Surrealists, “Dame de Pique”, and a key to the entire verbal-visual structure of the book. The photographs inside likewise illustrate the story through a system of symbols. While Deharme constructs her text like a classic dream narrative full of ghosts, metamorphoses, enchanted animals, and other fantasies, Cahun builds miniature photographic sets where toys, foods, plants, and household objects become characters in the tale. One picture, for instance, portraying the grief of a plant widowed of its beloved butterfly, shows the statue of a young boy bent over with her back turned on a clump of nasturtiums; as Deharme’s verses say, she is crying tears of wisteria. Another image, representing the protagonist’s terrible toothache, turns the sculptural outline of a molar into the scene of a battle between a tiny Pic doll and the long, thin snake of a nerve.

Stefano Mudu

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte