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Rebirth of Venus, the Art of Orlan

The French artist Orlan, her actual name is unknown, is making the ultimate sacrifice for art, her own body is her canvas. She has designed the perfect woman on her computer by using the worlds most famous women portraits, like the chin of Botticelli’s Venus and the forehead of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Through multiple operations, her atelier is the operating room, she is trying to really become the ultimate female she has designed.

The art of Orlan can be seen as a comment on the body culture in our modern world, we admire the perfect body and are searching for the eternal youth. Our body culture is not criticized by Orlan, she is just showing us how narcisstic we actually are becoming. Is that a bad thing? That yours to decide, but looking at the images of her surgery performances I must say I get really frightened.

The operations themselves are filmed on camera. The surgeons are wearing special outfits designed by famous designers, like Paco Rabanne and Issey Miyake. While she is undergoing her operations, there is music, dance and poetry.

In the art world they are kind of used to the idea that artists call themselves, or their actions, the artwork. Think of all the performances and happenings we had in the seventies, but this is something different. Orlon is actually considering her own body as art, and even brings her skin, the parts that are not used in the reconstruction, on the art market.