Espacio AV

Exhibition view. ESPACIO AV, Murcia.
Photo: José Luis Montero

July 7, 2008

Fold sculptures, clothes and costumes incarnated in the work of ORLAN with the collaboration of DAVIDELFIN
13th June – 28th September 2008


ORLAN (Saint-Etienne, France, 1947) is internationally renowned for her interdisciplinary practice cutting across photography, performance, video, sculpture, etc. Her work enacts the most substantial physical and identitarian metamorphosis in the history of art. Ever since 1977, when she began to explore the “status” of the female body within art history and society, ORLAN has been questioning traditional concepts of beauty and identity. In 1990-93, when the artist introduced a video camera in the first of her many operations, ORLAN redesigned her body in several plastic surgery interventions in which the surgical staff were dressed in clothes designed especially for the occasion by Paco Rabanne, Issey Miyake, Charlotte, Galdeberg, Franck, Sorbier Lan Vu…etc. Her practice involved a denunciation against the pressures exerted by the “correct” physical archetypes as well as a reflection on the mutating body and the cultural construction of identity, embodying a singular way of feminist protest and a questioning of the female body subjected to the pressures of social and cultural canons.

Coinciding with her retrospective show in 2007 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne, her hometown, ORLAN decided to hybridise the wardrobe which she had stored for all those years, for which she brought on board the fashion designer Maroussia Rebecq (Andreas Crews). Espacio AV in Murcia is showing the project ORLAN. Sutura / Hibridación / Reciclaje in which the artist has invited the Spanish fashion designer David Delfín to collaborate in the brand Le baiser de l’artiste. Taking the earlier experience in Saint-Etienne another step forward, this latest project consists of the hybridisation of the wardrobe of the French artist starting out from the dresses, trousers and jackets coming from various stages in her personal biography; ORLAN applies this concept to other components of the project. Clothes with a wide variety of patterns and textures are reconstructed as a hypostasis of the skin covering up fragments of the cultural, social and gender identity from different moments in the artist’s biography. This practice might well be described as a process of recycling, hybridisation and suture in which clothes are the basic relational material. Her own body, the source material for all her actions and works, is taken as a disguise she divests herself of, once and again, staging femininity as a masquerade. Her physical and identitarian metamorphosis confirms her personal cultural revolution against consumerist society and reminds us of the always illusory nature of the ideal normative.

For this installation by ORLAN at EAV, David Delfín chose the hook and eye as a suture instrument, a dressmaking element offering the possibility of opening and closing an aperture how and when one wants. Consequently, the opening is metaphorically transformed into a wound charged with a permanent potential for transformation. The ten pieces from ORLAN’s wardrobe hybridised by Davidelfín are presented at Espacio AV as the traces of bodies, interconnected by means of hooks and used to dress a number of transparent Louis Ghost chairs by Philippe Starck. The installation underscores the echo of suture and hybridisation permeating the whole work. The fact that spectators are invited to sit on the Louis Ghost chairs make these clothes into habits and cushions, juxtaposing the search for comfort with the idea of wearing somebody else’s clothes, of assuming her identity from the concept of “the other in oneself” and the harlequin’s metaphor, as acceptance of multiculturalism and laiticity in Michel Serres’s texts.

Both in their original wholeness and after their hybridisation, the clothes are then represented in photographs arranged as a frieze around the exhibition gallery, in which they are worn by models posing with their back to us, foreclosing any possible identity and acting as a kind of intermediary body. The images are always arranged horizontally as a way of avoiding the rhetoric of the standardisation of fashion photography and its concept of beauty.

This exhibition in Murcia is a continuation of ORLAN’s Self-Hybridisations project in which the digital replaces surgery, now with David Delfín as the designer in charge of reconstructing the artist’s second skin.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication featuring and analysing ORLAN’s works on “fold sculptures” and clothes made throughout her career, as well as images of the project made in collaboration with David Delfín in Murcia. The catalogue will include critical essays by Rhonda Garlik, Rocío de la Villa, Pedro Alberto Cruz, Michel Serres, as well as an interview by Isabel Tejeda with ORLAN and David Delfín.

For further information, please contact:
Press Office
T. (+34) 91 564 88 56

Espacio AV
C/ Santa Teresa 14, bajo
30.005 Murcia (Spain)


Espacio AV
July 7, 2008

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