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ORLAN & Frankenstein

A fourth web project for GIST; an alignment of the artist ORLAN, her plastic surgery, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Kathryn Gould

on 6 May 2011

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Transcript of ORLAN & Frankenstein

ORLAN The Reincarnation of ORLAN before after nose lips chin eyes forehead Mireille Suzanne Francette Porte, better known as ORLAN,
is a French artist, born May 30, 1947 in Saint-Étienne, Loire.
She lives and works in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. She is most famous for
using plastic surgery as an artistic medium. In her "Reincarnation of
ORLAN," she took the NOSE of Jean-Leon Gerome's Psyche... ...the LIPS of Boucher's Europa... ...the CHIN of Boticelli's Venus... ...the EYES of Diana
from a 16th-century
School of Fontainebleau
painting... ...and the FOREHEAD of
Da Vinci's Mona Lisa... ...put them all together... ...and underwent a series of
plastic surgeries to reinvent
her own face in their combined
image. Orlan picked these characters “not for the canons of beauty they represent… but rather on account of the stories associated with them."
Psyche: for her fragility and vulnerability
Europa: for her adventurous outlook on the future
Venus: for carnal beauty
Diana: for being a leader of goddesses and women
Mona Lisa: for the standard of beauty she represents Many feminists have called ORLAN an anti-feminist due to her goals and methods. Instead of condemning cosmetic surgery, she embraces it; instead of rejecting the masculine, she incorporates it; and instead of limiting her identity, she defines it as “nomadic, mutant, shifting, differing.” Orlan has stated: “my work is a struggle against the innate, the inexorable, the programmed, Nature, DNA (which is our direct rival as far as artists of representation are concerned), and God!"
[http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlan] "How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!--Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips" (Shelley 98). The concept of challenging nature, God, and DNA by reconstructing the "human" is directly related to Frankenstein... and one that ORLAN is clearly aware of, if you note her hair style. ORLAN aligns herself with both Victor and the monster...
Creator... and Creation... and by doing so she challenges us all
to question what it means to be human;
what it means to make art;
what it means to be feminine/masculine;
and gives us permission to keep our
identities amorphous, evolving, and
nomadic... ...so as part two of this project,
I intend to take my body and the bodies of my friends and challenge
our concepts of:
and human
by augmenting ourselves with photoshop with our own visions of beauty taken from paintings, celebrities, and other sources... ? ? ? Hopefully, we can find more about who we are
and what that really means, "being us."
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