Orlans Carnal Art
In 1990,the artist known as Orlan created a rather controversial type of performance art in which the world had never seen before. Coined “carnal art” for the medium Orlan used her own flesh. She, along with a team of medical experts, “performed” in front of a live audience as well as were broadcast around the world.
Orlan’s goal was to turn her own body into live art by transforming herself into the ideal, westernized version of beauty with the help of modern plastic surgery. Using a computer-composited sketch she combined the ideal features, taken from iconic paintings of woman done by very well-known artists: the chin of Botticelli’s Venus, the nose of Jean-Leon Gerome’s Psyche, the lips of Francois Boucher’s Europa, the eyes of Diana (as depicted in a 16th-century French School of Fontainebleu painting) and the forehead of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The transformation took place over the course of seven surgeries, and were performed without the use of anesthetics. Orlan was conscious throughout the entirety of every single operation.
The performance took place in and operating room, which was decorated as Orlan’s studio. On the walls were large images of Orlans face as well as representations of the works of art she was using. The entire performance was well planned out and carefully choreographed by Orlan herself. She wore a long black dress and even the doctors and nurses wore costumes designed by well-know designers. Performers in the form of male striptease dancers, danced around colorful props. Each surgery had its own theme. Orlan would read from a book during the performance or answer questions asked by the live spectators watching live around the globe.
Orlan is a very strong activist in the feminist rights movement, her transgressive art is nothing short of a harsh sociological statement. Though Orlan has proclaimed she is