21 Nov 2018
18:15 - 20:00

"Der moderne Prometheus"
Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 001

Lecture series

ORLAN – Performance/Talk

ORLAN (Paris)


ORLAN is a French visual and multimedia artist, whose work is emblematic of the interest that contemporary artists have taken in performance art and in the possibilities of using one’s own body as a creative medium. Questioning representations of genres, sexuality and the self, she has constantly brought her appearance and her identity into play, reinventing herself through a continuous work of “self-sculpture”. She has created, since the age of 17, provocative performance pieces – including Le Baiser de l’artiste (1977) in which, sitting behind a photography of her own naked torso, she sold French kisses to the visitors of an art fair – as well as sculptures, photographs, videos, etc., notably a parody of Courbet’s L’Origine du monde, turned L’Origine de la guerre (1989) and showing the lower abdomen of a man in erection. In the 1990s, assisted by medical doctors, she began a series of “surgical-operation-performances”, in which she transformed the operating room into a workshop where her body was surgically modified, under her direction. She constantly associated these performances to readings of essays by philosophers like Michel Serres, and she wrote her own Carnal Art Manifesto (1992) to explain the issues at stake: as a critical diversion of cosmetic surgery, a demonstration of the new plasticity of the flesh that allows the contemporary subject to claim authorship of her/his own body, a questioning of beauty codes and their violence, her project distinguishes itself from body art by rejecting pain and making her body “a space of public debate”. In Reconfigurations-Self-Hybridations (starting from 1998), she has used digital image processing technologies to merge her face with works representing non Western physical and artistic canons, in order to create as many “mutant” figures. In parallel, she has pursued her exploration of the impact of (bio)technology by working with geneticists (Harlequin’s Coat, 2007) or, in one of her most recent works, developing a robot mimicking her features, endowed with artificial and collective intelligence, and interacting with the public, the ORLAN-oïde (2018). The logics of recombination and the irony that permeate her work are well illustrated in a 1990 self-portrait, significantly entitled La fiancée numérique de Frankenstein (Frankenstein’s digital bride).

Artist’s website: http://www.orlan.eu

 

ORLAN is a major figure in body art and “carnal art,” known for her work with plastic surgery in the early to mid-1990s. Using the media of sculptures, photographs, performances, videos, videogames, and augmented reality, ORLAN applies scientific and medical techniques (i.e. surgery and biogenetics) to show every sense of materiality and corporeality. She has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (2010), the Golden Medal of Saint-Étienne and the Bronze Medal of Saint-Étienne Métropole (2007), and the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2003). Some of her projects include her 2016 digital photographic series, “Hybridation Serge Gainsbourg et Salvador Dali” (with Roberto Battistini), her 2001 filmic poster series of non-existent films, “Le Plan du Film,” the 2008 bio-art installation (in collaboration with the SymbioticA laboratory in Perth, Australia), “Le Manteau d’Arlequin,” her collaboration with perfumer Christophe Laudamiel for the 2007 perfume “Le Baiser de l’artiste,” her musical collaborations (i.e. with Chicks on Speed, Fréderic Sanchez, Tanger), and her on-going “Suture/Hybridize/Recycle”  project that focuses on suture in Orlan’s deconstructed wardrobe.


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