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ab 21 March 2023

Curator: Gabriele Schor

EXHIBITION: March 21–July 29, 2023

Am Hof 6a, 1010 Vienna



The Art of Transformation

Using her own body as raw material for her artistic practice, French artist ORLAN deconstructs the traditional iconography of the feminine. In the 1990s, ORLAN caused a sensation with surgical operations performed on her body, but it was as early as 1964, at the age of 17, that she gave birth to her artistic self. Since then, she has continuously recreated herself and keenly explored the concept of identity. In her “carnal art,” the body becomes both subject and object. This publication traverses the six decades of ORLAN’s oeuvre, revisiting her early performances in particular. One of her most recent creations is the ORLAN-OÏDE robot, and thanks to an augmented reality app, ORLAN avatars come to life and emerge from this richly illustrated volume. The political status of the body is made evident through all of her works: in 1989 she transformed Gustave Courbet’s famous painting L’origine du monde into L’origine de la guerre by replacing the vulva with the phallus. The statement has not lost any of its topicality.

Self-Hybridation Opéra de Pékin n°1, 2014
(c) ORLAN / Courtesy Gallery Ceysson & Bénétière, Paris / Bildrecht, Wien 2022 / SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Wien

ORLAN (*1947, Saint-Étienne) is one of the most noteable representatives of the feminist avant-garde and performance art as well as the founder of L’Art Charnel (carnal art). The French artist has been using her own body as artistic material for six decades. She lives and works in Paris.

ORLAN (*1946, Saint Etienne, France) is one of the most important representatives of the Feminist Avant-Garde, performance art and founder of L’Art Charnel (Carnal Art). She has been using her own body as artistic material for six decades.

Her surgical performances in the 1990s caused a great sensation. Her early work, on the other hand, is hardly known. For this reason, the retrospective exhibition of the VERBUND COLLECTION places a special focus on the works of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as on the following decades up to the present day. 

The exhibition catalogue is the first German-language publication on ORLAN’s work with an English translation and is published by Hatje Cantz, Berlin.

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