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The Reincarnation Of Saint Orlan
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The Reincarnation Of Saint Orlan


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  • 1. Orlan
  • 2. Orlan
    • Born on May 30 1947 in St. Etienne, France.
    • Orlan is a multimedia artist who uses, video, digital photography and surgery (Orlan Carnal Art).
    • Named herself Saint Orlan in 1971.
    • Surgical operations altered her face in a way that challenges the traditional notions of beauty (Drummond 1).
    • Orlan uses plastic surgery as a medium to express her views on beauty standards (Faber 85).
  • 3. The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan
    • Orlan’s series of nine surgical performances is entitled “The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan”.
    • Her surgeries always have a theme. This theme becomes realized as Orlan reads from literary, philosophical or psychoanalytic texts (Faber 85).
  • 4. Orlan’s Performances in the Surgery Room
    • Everyone in the surgery room wears a costume designed by Paco Rabamme, Frank Sorbier, Miyake, and Lan Vu.
    • Orlan uses props, such as, a devil’s pitchfork. Some of her surgeries also have dancers (Faber 85).
  • 5. Orlan’s Aim
    • Surgeons work from a computerized image of facial features of Renaissance women.
    • Orlan’s aim is to incorporate facial features of Renaissance women onto her own face.
  • 6. Orlan’s Aim Continued
    • The Mona Lisa was used because in today’s standards she is not considered beautiful. Mona Lisa’s forehead and temples were used.
    • Diana was used because she did not submit to men. Her nose was used.
    • Europa’s mouth was used because she looked to another continent, which allowed her to be taken away to an uncertain future.
    • Venus’ chin was used. She is the goddess of love.
    • Psyche’s need for love and spiritual beauty made Orlan want to use her eyes (O’Bryan 51).
  • 7. The Surgeries Continued
    • The first four surgeries included liposuction and reduction and shaping of knees, ankles, buttocks, hips, waist, and neck (Faber 85).
  • 8. Surgeries Continued
    • In 1990 after her third surgery she wore a Bride of Frankenstein wig in a portrait. She did this to bring attention to the fact that female beauty is defined by men for their own pleasure (Pescarmona 1).
  • 9. Omnipresence
    • Omnipresence was her seventh surgery.
    • Took place in 1993.
    • Broadcast live to 15 art galleries in different countries.
    • Viewers could ask Orlan questions.
    • There was a post performance gallery installation of Omnipresence which contained 41 images contrasting a computer – generated image of Orlan
    • ( Faber 85).
  • 10. Surgeries 7,8 and 9
    • Surgeries 7, 8 and 9 were the formation of a “mutant body”. During these surgeries Orlan had an implant inserted at her temples. This created the two bumps on her head. The largest breasts were also inserted for her body type (Faber 85).
  • 11. Surgeries Continued
    • When each surgery is finished, Orlan has relics of body tissue made. These consist of a piece of scalp with hair attached, clumps of fat and bloody pieces of gauge. She sells them for $1,400 U.S.
    • Her tenth surgery is set to occur in Japan. An immense nose will be constructed that would begin in the middle of her forehead (Faber 85).
  • 12. Self - Hybridations
    • In 1997 Orlan began a collaborative project with Pierre Zovile, which was called “Self – Hybridations”.
    • They created digital images that incorporated Orlan’s features with features of other women and beauty standards of other time periods, as well as, from other cultures (Faber 85).
  • 13. Christian Figures
    • Orlan views her work as blasphemous. She creates parodies of Christian figures by making cruciform positions on her operating table (Faber 86). These actions signify the intensity of rituals towards beauty. She tries to make the point that our traditional notions of what is beautiful are incorrect.
    • Alyda Faber argues that Orlan creates in her body plastic significance that patriarchal capitalist societies strive towards, it is a parodic saintliness that reveals the pain that such a body will endure.
  • 14. What the Audiences Experience
    • Orlan intends to cause the viewers pain. She holds that art must disturb both artist and viewer because in this way it will make people ask questions about society (Faber 88).
    • Her surgeries acknowledge the suffering that occurs when one tries to achieve beauty that is seen in fashion magazines (Faber 88).
  • 15. Orlan’s Work: A Time Line
    • 1974 - Orlan went on a trip to Italy, after this trip she made self portraits as a Madonna. This was an Incidental Strip Tease using sheets. It was composed of 18 photographs, which were a gradual stripping of the artist, until she became like the nude Venus in Botticelli’s painting.
    • 1978 - Orlan started the organization “Environment – Behaviour – Performance”. It was an international video and performance symposium in Lyon. She performed “Bare No Hair” (Flammarion)
  • 16. Time Line Continued
    • 1982 - Orlan founded the first online magazine for contemporary art called “Art – Access Revue”.
    • 1983 – Orlan presented a multimedia installation called “Saint Orlan Blesses Performance”.
    • 1990 – She started her series of surgeries entitled “The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan”.
    • 2000 – Orlan began a new series of digital photographs based on African ideas of beauty.
    • 2003 – Orlan’s first monographic exhibition in France (Flammarion).
  • 17. Carnal Art
    • Orlan calls her work Carnal Art. Denee Pescarmona states Carnal Art is a self – portrait in the classical sense, yet realized through the technology of its time. No longer seen as the ideal it once represented, the body has become ‘modified ready – made’. Carnal Art loves the baroque and parody; the grotesque and other such styles that have been left behind, because Carnal Art opposes the social pressures that are exerted upon both the human body and the corpuses of art”
  • 18. The Results
    • Through her work Orlan has sparked the crucial question of why women follow rigid beauty standards that men have introduced.
    • Her combination of various features from famous paintings onto her own face results in an image far from beautiful, which signifies that there is no ideal beauty.
  • 19. Works Cited
    • Drummond, Jeremy. Orlan (France). 2 Oct. 2005 <http://www.
    • Faber, A. Saint Orlan: ritual as violent spectacle and cultural criticism. TDR v. 46 no. 1 (Spring 2002) p. 85 – 92.
    • Flammarion. Orlan. 2 Oct. 2005
    • O’Bryan, J. Saint Orlan faces reincarnation. Art Journal v. 56 (Winter 1997) p. 50 – 60).
    • Orlan Carnal Art. 1 Oct. 2005 <
    • Pescarmona, Denee. English 114EM: Women Writers, 1650 – 1760.
    • 1oCT. 2005. <
    • 114em/surgeries.htm>.