Author(s): Clare Rae
Published to coincide with the major exhibition Entre Nous: Claude Cahun and Clare Rae at Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Clare Rae's Never standing on two feet serves as both an ode to the legendary avant-garde queer artist and writer Claude Cahun and a telling expansion of the Melbourne artist's own performative photographic practice. The body of work – which was made during a 2017 residency with Archisle: the Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme to research the Cahun archive held by Jersey Heritage – repositions Rae's particular mode of self-portraiture to fall in the windswept Jersey landscape. In the process, it places her practice in direct conversation with that of Cahun, an artist who was associated with the Parisian surrealist movement in the 1920s, before relocating to Jersey with her female partner Marcel Moore in the 1930s, where she would create the vast archive of gender-ambiguous portraits for which she later garnered such acclaim. Rae's work not only considers Cahun's relationship to the history, cultural and geographical landscape of Jersey, but enacts a wider investigation and subversion of the male gaze and its relationship to both the female body and our imagining of the landscape. The book – Rae's first – features a foreword by celebrated UK curator Susan Bright and a major essay by Société Jersiaise photographic archivist Gareth Syvret.