Part essay, part film poem, Magic Mirror translates the startling force of French surrealist Claude Cahun’s photographs into a choreographed series of tableaux vivants. Re-staging Cahun’s black and white images with selected extracts from her book Aveux Non Avenus (Confessions Untold), the film explores the links between Cahun’s photographs and writings. Cahun’s multi-subjectivity, as expressed in both her photographs and book, set the scene for the film, where she dresses and makes her face up in many different ways, swapping identities between gender, age and the inanimate. The splitting of identity appears as a double which persists throughout in image and voice; as literal double through super imposition, as shadow, imprints in sand, reflections in water, mirror or distorting glass. The kaleidoscope aesthetic that runs through the film serves not only to weave between image and word but also between the work of Cahun and the films of Sarah Pucill, creating a dialogue between two artists who share similar iconography and concerns.
“Sarah Pucill’s imaginative reanimation of Claude Cahun’s work will be inspiring to those familiar with Cahun and will captivate anyone interested in the complexity of relationships between image, identity, body, self, and the other that are so beautifully explored by Cahun and Pucill alike’ Jennifer Shaw, Professor, Sonoma State University and author of Reading Claude Cahun’s Disavowels (Ashgate Press, 2014)
‘Pucill uses Claude Cahun’s images and voice as a hinge on which to open and enter a deeper layer of female subjectivity. In an eerie doubling, this ferociously beautiful invitation both honours and echoes Cahun and develops Pucill’s ongoing fascination with the muse and the creating self. An intricate staging of intimacy invents and divides meaning like a first cell with its own logic of interiority’ Cherry Smyth, critic, curator and writer
'A beautiful and intelligent work. I lost myself in its reflections and refractions.” David Campany, writer and curator
- Magic Mirror (2013), 16mm, B/W, Sound, 75minutes
Includes a video interview with Sarah Pucill and Marcia Farquhar and new essays by Helena Reckitt and Sarah Ibrahim
Published by LUX with the Support of the University of Westminster and Arts Council England