13.12.09 | 05.04.10
Mirror-portraits-stress of our society
Courtesy Venice Projects
ORLAN is an irreverent, ironic, blasphemous, iconoclastic artist. Provocations of the flesh, reversals of the body, art and life, a playing with identity and a continuous oscillation between real and virtual are raised to the level of an aesthetic. From the comparison with Bernini’s Saint Theresa in Ecstasy, a paradigmatic example of Roman post-Tridentine baroque there emerges a provocative alter-ego: Saint Orlan, with the stress on the combination of spiritual tension, emotional intensity and the sensuousness of the model, beginning a long artistic-existential approach to rereading Western sacred iconography. The artist achieves a recovery of the original, a subtle and subversive charge that persists latently in its Baroque poetic, transposed into a redundant, excessive and sarcastic aesthetic.
With the Ré-incarnation de Sainte Orlan the artist raises aesthetic surgery to the status of an artistic medium, used regardless of medical legitimacy as a means for transforming the self but above all as an instrument for the production of works of art. Reliquaries that contain parts of the artist’s body, drawings and self-portraits made with her own blood during operations, pieces of gauze and Shrouds, as well as the residual traces of the intervention: photographs of the operating theatre and videos of the surgery. ORLAN’s work touches on anthropology, psychoanalysis, aesthetics and science. It is wedged into all these disciplines, constantly supported by the mass media system. Questions of identity, the taboos related to the opening of the body, the shattered myths of a lost femininity, the public and private sphere, the limits of art, language and life are simultaneously questioned in her work.
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