Orlan: Le Récit

Orlan: Le Récit

Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole

American Indian Self-Hybridization #7, 2005 

May 22, 2007

Le Récit

From May 26 to August 26, 2007

Musée dArt Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole


From May 26 to August 26, 2007, the Musée dArt Moderne de Saint-Etienne devotes to ORLAN the greatest retrospective ever organized on the artists work ; ORLAN: Le Récit. It is the opportunity to pay homage to the artist on the occasion of her sixtieth birthday, in her hometown of Saint-Etienne. For the vernissage on May 25 and to celebrate the thirtieth birthday of Le Baiser de lArtiste, ORLAN will present a performance Hybrider et Recycler especially conceived for the exhibit in collaboration with Andrea Crews.

Curated by Lòrànd Hegyi and Eugenio Viola

Since the mid-sixties, ORLAN has journeyed through the most important art movements of her time as an extraordinary protagonist. Her work unclassifiable moves beyond the many posts and isms of art history, and her unique style has always been that of a complex, irreverent, ironic, blasphemous, iconoclastic artist, for whom the provocation of flesh, the reverse of the body, art and life, the play of identity, the constant oscillation between the real and the virtual, reach the heights of poetry, states Eugenio Viola, co-curator of the exhibit.

With a wide angle on the artists life and work, Le Récit builds a bridge between her past, summoned by the present of her research, and a future that promises to be long and fertile. Illustrating the various stages of ORLANs work, this retrospective beckons a rediscovery of the history of the artists body poetry, from the precious first plastic works of the early sixties when she began exploring the concept of body-sculpture, to the works linked to the feminist movement, all the while passing through the artists reinterpretation of Judeo-Christian iconography. A number of previously unseen works presented as part of the exhibit bear witness to an-depth review of the baroque metaphor in general, and of Berninis Saint Theresa in particular. This hagiographic declension of the Art Corporel (bodily art) is symptomatic of ORLANs artistic journey.

The retrospective also touches upon surgical-operation-performances conceived as original and provocative answers to the crisis of performance. In the early nineties, ORLAN transformed an operating room into an artists studio in which an artwork was produced, thus inaugurating the mutating paradigm of contemporary art – a progressive return to bodily themes – in a direct relationship with new technologies and biotechnology. The appropriation of plastic surgery as a creative art form, both as subject and object of the performance in which the oeuvre-action integrates the artists body, marks the passage of bodily art into carnal art in ORLANs work.

In the Self-Hybridation series (Pre-Colombian, African and the more recent ones on Native Americans), ORLAN continues her digital journey through the infinite possibility of physical identities. By using various canons of beauty and aesthetics from different times and places, the artist creates living totemic figures, almost tangible in their virtuality and fascinating in their disturbing appearance, and seductive in their artificial otherness.

Finally, the Musée dArt Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole presents Le Plan du Film, a work in progress, started in 2001 based on a concept by Jean-Luc Godard. The idea? To make a film backwards, as a destabilizing synthesis made up of autobiographical facts and fictional elements.

Thus, Le Récit connects ORLANs past and future works, revealing the intrinsic coherence of her multifaceted artistic research, striking in its extraordinary capacity for inquiry, which allows the artist constantly to renew her work and to remain at the cutting edge of innovation. It is that perpetual quest which characterizes this artists journey, and precisely what makes her one-of-a-kind in the vast horizon of contemporary art.

Catalogue :
Charta Editions, Milano
Book format: 21 x 30 cm
pages: 304
illustrations: 290

Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne

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May 22, 2007

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