Paris: Editions du Carrefour, 1930. First edition. 237 pp. One of 370 copies on vélin pur-fil, of a total edition of 500 copies. Some minor spotting to the covers with a thin line of foxing on front panel, spine a little creased, but overall an excellent copy. Illustrated with ten full page heliogravures of photo montages by Cahun and their partner Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe). Preface by Pierre Mac Orlan.
As noted in the introduction of the first English translation in 2008, "It is the nearest thing to a memoir Cahun wrote, but in fact the book is an anti-memoir, a critique of autobiography, where she uses subversive photomontages and statements to present herself as a force of genius possessed of the need to resist identification and to maintain within herself 'the mania of the exception.'"
Claude Cahun (1894-1954), born Lucy Schwob, embraced gender fluidity and ambiguity decades before the advent of queer theory; as they wrote in Aveux non Avenus, "Masculine? Feminine? It depends on the situation. Neuter is the only gender that always suits me." With their partner in art and life, Marcel Moore (born Suzanne Malherbe), they blazed a path of both confrontation and challenge, explorations of beauty and gender and sexuality, within their writings and particularly their photographs. Little published during their lifetime, Aveux non Avenus is their major work, a landmark not only in Surrealism but also in feminist and LGBTQ+ studies. Item #1892