Past SITUATION

SITUATION #61: ORLAN, Omnipresence, 1993

11.02.–02.04.2017

Fotomuseum Winterthur

From Omnipresence, 7th surgery performance, 1993 © ORLAN
From Omnipresence, 7th surgery performance, 1993 © ORLAN
From Omnipresence, 7th surgery performance, 1993 © ORLAN
From Omnipresence, 7th surgery performance, 1993 © ORLAN
ORLAN, Omnipresence, 7th surgery performance, 1993, SITUATION #61, SITUATIONS/Flesh, installation view at Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2017 © Philipp Ottendörfer
ORLAN, Omnipresence, 7th surgery performance, 1993, SITUATION #61, SITUATIONS/Flesh, installation view at Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2017 © Philipp Ottendörfer
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In the early 1990s the French performance artist ORLAN began her radical art project, The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan, in which the flesh of her own body became the material of art. Through surgical interventions she had her face modelled and (de)formed: her chin, forehead, eye area, lips and nose were modified to match those of female prototypes from the history of art. Omnipresence shows the seventh operation of this kind, which ORLAN staged as a media event on November 21, 1993. In an era predating the Internet and smartphones, ORLAN invited collective participation by broadcasting the performance live to a select audience and providing them with the opportunity to communicate with the artist via telephone or fax. The operating table thus became a stage as the scalpel cut into the flesh to pull off the skin. Carnal Art “swings between defiguration and refiguration,” states the accompanying manifesto. “Its inscription in the flesh is due to the new possibilities inherent to our age. The body has become a ‘modified ready-made’…” In the work the incision into the actual flesh serves as both a cut and an interface, a point at which the body subjugates itself to the image. Body and image are radically inverted – prefiguring a post-photographic age in which manipulation, modelling and self-promotion are becoming an unspectacular part of everyday routine.


Download the Carnal Art Manifesto by ORLAN: bit.ly/2jYspJu

More by ORLAN: orlan.eu

Cluster: Flesh