Nil Yalter

Le Chevalier d'Eon, 1978

Video/Film
68.0 × 52.0 Size (cm)
26.8 × 20.5 Size (in)
Basel 2018

Le Chevalier d'Eon is an expansive portrait of a man who decided he wanted to live as a woman. Referencing the Chevalier d’Eon, a famous 18th century French diplomat, soldier and spy, of ambiguous gender, Yalter’s friend transforms himself into a woman on screen, putting on jewelry and female clothes; large, teardrop earrings and fishnet stockings. It is a heightened dramatization of gender transition, underscored by an accompanying soundtrack of Baroque music by Domenico Scarlatti. At a critical moment in the video the following quote, attributed to the Chevalier d’Eon, is spoken: “After having been an honest man, a zealous citizen and a brave soldier all my life, I triumph in being a woman and in being able to be cited forever amongst those many women who have proved that the qualities and virtues of which men have been so proud have not been denied to my sex."