The (Plastic) Evolution of Orlan
Orlan is a French artist that blew minds in the late 80’s and early 90’s touting her plastic surgery transformation as performance art. Orlan underwent 9 plastic surgery procedures during her “transformation” that included lots of liposuction (ankles, butt, hips, waist and neck), rhinoplasty, brow lift, eye lift, lip augmentation, breast implants, cheek implants, chin implant and another set of cheek implants that were placed on her forehead.
Orlan titled her series of plastic surgeries “The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan” and she broadcast the actual surgeries to art galleries. During the surgeries, Orlan would read literary works that would reveal the theme she had chosen for that particular surgery and she had the surgeons dress up in costumes. Orlan wanted her new face to be modeled after different renaissance women ranging from the Mona Lisa to the Goddess Venus.
Orlan claims to be a feminist and that the purpose of her plastic surgery “art” was to bring attention to the fact that the beauty of women is defined by men for their own pleasures. So in “protest” of men defining beauty for woman, Orlan paid a man to cut her flesh and mould it into what has been defined as beautiful by men and society? I think the forehead implants were just a thinly veiled attempt at distracting from the fact that Orlan became what she is claiming to be against.
Pictures of Orlan performing her art while undergoing plastic surgery: