By C. Jill O’Bryan
The French artist Orlan is notorious for performances in which her physique is surgically altered. In 9 such functionality surgical procedures, positive factors from Greek goddesses painted by means of Botticelli, Gérard, Moreau, and an nameless institution of Fontainebleau artist, in addition to from da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, have been implanted into Orlan’s face. in the course of her surgical performances, audience witness a cloth tampering with the connection among the face and person identification, the unique and the built, a old critique of the organization of artwork with attractiveness and the feminine body.
Responding to Orlan’s definition of her functionality surgical procedures as “carnal art,” C. Jill O’Bryan considers how the artist’s ever-fluctuating reconstructions of her face query idealized good looks and feminine identification, persuasively arguing that Orlan’s surgically reinvented face succeeds in either reinforcing and breaking up corporeal subjectivity and illustration. O’Bryan contextualizes Orlan’s operations in the centuries-long historical past of public dissections and surgical procedures, lavish anatomical illustrations created to attract the gaze into the opened anatomy, Artaud’s “Theater of Cruelty” within the early 20th century, and modern works and performances through Cindy Sherman, Hans Bellman, and Annie Sprinkle.
A compelling blurring of the road among feminist thought and paintings feedback, O’Bryan’s shut exam of Orlan’s functionality surgical procedures complicates and reconfigures the suggestion of identity—and its relation to the body—at the very boundary dividing paintings from identification.
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Additional resources for Carnal Art: Orlan’s Refacing
Cramer’s surgical gown; and a diptych portraying forty-one photographs taken daily to document Orlan’s face recovering from the surgery, juxtaposed with forty-one computer composites of her face fused with the images that she is appropriating (Plates –). Orlan explains: • Diana was chosen because she is subordinate to the gods and men; because she is active, even aggressive, because she leads a group. • Mona Lisa, a beacon character in the history of art, was chosen as a reference point because she is not beautiful according to present standards of beauty, because there is some “man” under this woman.
123 La réincarnation de Sainte-Orlan includes two layers of appropriation. First, Orlan utilizes speciﬁc images of women’s faces that bring conceptual meaning to her body of work and her body. Second, Orlan’s surgical recreation of herself is the visceral performance of appropriation. The imagery she creates is of her body in surgery, not of the ﬁve representations of women that she references. The appropriated attributes are not necessarily visually identiﬁable on Orlan’s body. One does not look at Orlan’s lips and associate them with those of Moreau’s depiction of Europa, or note her prominent hornlike temples and associate them with the shape of the Mona Lisa’s head.
In fact, no real amputation took place; it was a staged event. A friend, Heinz Chibulka, was the model, Schwarzkogler the photographer. However, the photographs are visceral and convincing. The actionists’ attack on cultural values was ritualized and subordinated with texts that conjured myth and Dionysian festivities. m. theater”) was outlined as a six-day Dionysian festival. m. 109 Thus it was perceptive that the body, discharged from the “greenbergian ‘optical space’” would be resuscitated, even if only as an object.