Attenborough Arts Centre to host exhibitions by Claude Cahun and UK debut of Laura Swanson

Our Attenborough Arts Centre will be the first venue in the UK to present a solo exhibition by American artist Laura Swanson, alongside the Hayward Touring exhibition of photography by gender-defying artist Claude Cahun (1894 – 1954).

Gallery 1 will present brand new, especially commissioned work by Laura Swanson; two new photographic series, 'Beauty' and 'Recluse', alongside recent work from her mixed-media series 'Uniforms (2014 – 2015)' and pieces from various past projects.

Swanson examines the behaviour of looking at physical difference, working across media including drawing, installation, photography, and sculpture. Her work often references her experience of being a short-statured person, confronting the impact of objectification, exploitation and marginalisation as a result of physical difference.

Hope NY, 13 (2011 - ongoing) Laura Swanson - Courtesy and copyright of the artist 300.jpg
Hope NY, 13 (2011 - ongoing) Laura Swanson - Courtesy and copyright of the artist

The free public preview takes place on Friday 8 September, 5.30pm – 8pm and offers the chance to see the show for the first time at Attenborough Arts Centre, with a free drink and an opportunity meet the artist.

In Gallery 3 AAC will also be presenting 'Beneath this Mask': 42 reproduction giclee prints by French photographer Claude Cahun (1894–1954), whose radical self-portraits brought her posthumous fame. Born Lucy Schwob, she adopted the pseudonym in 1917 to free herself from the narrow confines of gender. Cahun’s work was far beyond its time, challenging ideas of gender, identity and traditional portraiture in these now famous images.

Self Portrait (1928) Claude Cahun - Courtesy and copyright of Jersey Heritage

In 1937, Cahun moved from France and settled in Jersey with her stepsister and lover Marcel Moore. She was imprisoned for activities in the resistance during the German occupation of Jersey, and remained in Jersey after the Second World War.

The exhibition continues until Sunday 10 December 2017 and the galleries are open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 12 noon – 4pm.

  • Press release
  • As part of the exhibition Attenborough Arts will host free debates, lectures, tours and family workshops. All events are free but booking is advised. To book please visit or call our box office: 0116 252 2455.