Claude Cahun: Beneath this Mask

23 March – 3 August 2024

An exhibition of striking photographs exploring the complexities of gender and identity. 

The exhibition contains 42 contemporary giclee prints made from scans of Cahun’s original photographic self-portraits. Born Lucy Schwob, she adopted the pseudonym Claude Cahun in 1917 to free herself from the narrow confines of gender. Her work investigates themes of identity through multiple characters. Blurring and distorting her age, identity, gender and surroundings, the photographs can be read as anti-portraiture: while portraiture sets out to capture and commemorate an individual, Cahun’s photographs disrupt the idea of a single ‘self’.  

Largely unknown during her lifetime, Claude Cahun’s work has since received fame and has influenced the performative work of contemporary artists such as Cindy Sherman and Trish Morrissey.

This Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition is in collaboration with Jersey Heritage and was first presented at the Women of the World Festival 2015, Southbank Centre. This exhibition was curated by Gilly Fox, Assistant Curator at Hayward Gallery Touring. 

Discover this exhibition in Galleries 5 and 6. All our exhibitions and displays are included with gallery admission. 


Caption: Claude Cahun: Self Portrait, 1928. Courtesy & copyright Jersey Heritage


Further information
  • Opening times:  10am-4pm, Wednesday – Saturday. Annual closure dates: 25 – 26 December 2024. The gallery also closes for two weeks collection care and maintenance at the start of January every year
  • Admission: You can book your gallery tickets online or buy on the day: £12 Adult; £9 Student; £6 Child (5-15yrs); £0 Child (0-4yrs); Family tickets are available; Free for Lakeland Arts Members; With a National Art Pass you get 50% off day admission
  • Location: Abbot Hall, Kirkland, Kendal LA9 5AL. Parking: Pay and display parking in the Abbot Hall car park – there are parking spaces for Blue Badge holders
  • For more information please call 015394 722464. email:
  • Instagram @abbothall; Facebook @abbothall