ORLAN produces body related works that deal with female identity in the history of art.
ORLAN was born on 30th May 1947 in Saint-Etienne, France. She lives and works between Los Angeles, New York and Paris. In 2006-2007 she is as a scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles,
From 1965, she has been active in photography, video, sculpture, installations, performance, etc. In 1977, her performance The Artist’s Kiss during the FIAC in Paris was a huge scandal. In 1978 she created the International Symposium of Performance in Lyon. In 1982, she founded the first on-line magazine of contemporary art, Art-Accès-Revue, on France’s precursor to the internet, the Minitel. She wrote the Carnal Art manifesto, and from 1990 to 1993 she conducted her series of 9 surgery-performances, filmed and broadcast in institutions throughout the world, among which the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
ORLAN has created some works with collaborators: an architect, PHILIPPE CHIAMBARETTA (exhibition Luminous Room at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2005), musicians, TANGER band (for the soundtrack of Le Plan du fil, Al Dante edition, 2001 and FREDERIC SANCHEZ (who created the soundtrack of her work Bien que…Oui mais !, 2003), a choregrapher, KARINE SAPORTA (Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, Paris, 2002), a laboratory and a group of artists who use biotechnology: SYMBIOTICA, for her project intitled The Arlequin’s Coat.
Currently, ORLAN is working on several series at the same time : The Self-Hybridizations: in 1998 she launched a worldwide tour of differing standards of beauty in various civilizations and through history (in Pre-Columbian, African and American-Indian cultures). She hybridizes her new image (her face modified by surgery) to aesthetic values from other cultures digital photographs ensue. The Arlequin’s Coat will be created with skin cells cultivated in vitro, taken from Orlan and from people with various skin colour and origin. Le Plan du Film (The Film Plot), initiated in 1988, is inspired by a Godard’s comment: "The only great thing about Montparnasse 19 is that is was not just made back to front, but represents the flip side of cinema." ORLAN exploited her own image bank to produce a series of movie posters, trailers and soundtracks for fictitious films. She is now working on the actual production and distribution.
In 1999, ORLAN was appointed professor at the National Art School at Cergy, just outside Paris. In 2003, the Minister of Culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon conferred her with the honorary title of Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2005, she got a one-year residency at ISCP in New York, from the AFAA. ORLAN was awarded the Arcimboldo Prize for digital photography, the First Prize at the Griffel-Kunst in Hamburg, and the First Prize of the Moscow Festival of Photography.
She has had several retrospectives: 2002, FRAC des Pays de la Loire, France, curator Jean-François Taddéi; 2002 in Salamanca and Vitoria, Spain, curators Olga Guinot and Juan Guardiola; 2004, CCC, Tours, France, curator Alain Julien-Laferrière; 2004, Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, curator Régis Durand. In 2007, Lorand Heygi will organize a retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Saint-Etienne, her native city, on the occasion of her 60th birthday.
ORLAN has been featured in many exhibitions : in the USA (LACMA and MOCA, Los Angeles, PS1, New York, and Milred Kemper Art Museum, St Louis), in Italy (Palazzo Strozzi, Florence and Palazzo delle esposizioni, Rome), in Paris, France (Centre G. Pompidou, Centre National de la Photographie, Palais de Tokyo, Maison européenne de la Photographie), in Germany (Kunst Museum in Ahlen) in Austria (Kunsthalle and MAK, Vienna), in Luxemburg (Casino of Luxemburg), in Spain (Miro Foundation, Barcelona, Contemporary Art Museum, Victoria, Museum of Photography, Salamanca), in Switzerland (Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne), in Russia (Moscow House of Photography), in Asia (Center Hall of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea and French-Japanese Institute in Yokohama, Japan), etc.
ORLAN has participated in several Biennals of Contemporary Art: Paris, Venice, Istanbul, Lyon, Sydney.
ORLAN is represented by Michel Rein Gallery in Paris, B&D Gallery in Milan, Stephan Stux Gallery in New York and Séjul Gallery in Seoul.
In 2004 Flammarion editions published a monograph in French and in English entitled ORLAN, Carnal Art, with texts from Bernard Blistène, Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Caroline Cros, Régis Durand, Eleanor Heartney, Laurent Le Bon, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Vivian Rehberg and Julian Zugazagoitia.
There are many other books about ORLAN.
ORLAN teaches at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She is regularly invited by universities or institutions to give lectures. Many television and radio programs are dedicated to her and so are various universitary works. Her works are part of public and private collections.
ORLAN’s website: www.orlan.net