VIDEO. Performances, humanoid robot… the artist ORLAN creates the event at the Musée des Abattoirs, in Toulouse
The new exhibition at Les Abattoirs retraces the career of ORLAN, a great figure in contemporary art, from the 1960s to the present day. The artist was in Toulouse this Thursday for the opening of this retrospective, to be discovered until the end of August.
Dressed in black and white, her heavily made-up face surmounted by a spectacular two-tone bun-sculpture which gives her a half-punk, half-cruella look, the performer ORLAN (her name is written in capitals) will have marked the day on Thursday to Slaughterhouses. A recognizable silhouette among all at the opening of her exhibition, the artist made visitors dance slow to songs written by her for an album project. An assertive feminist, ORLAN regrets the disappearance of the close-knit dance of the booms of her youth…
Until August, the contemporary art museum is devoting a historical retrospective to this great artistic figure, which has spanned his work since the 1960s. The central nave and the seven rooms on the ground floor have been “orlanized” as the artist says. ORLAN makes his own person his favorite material for talking about social phenomena. Her body, dressed or naked, and her face, from yesterday to today, are everywhere, in self-portraits, installations, performances, sounds, technological objects.
Behind a picture rail, in the central nave of the Abattoirs, a humanoid in his effigy, a robot equipped with artificial intelligence, which speaks, moves, and is a little scary, is one of the attractions of the exhibition. “I am not subject to an artistic practice, a material, a technique, a technology” proclaims ORLAN, who obviously never tired of being her own muse and model.
“5 francs for a kiss”
One of the key pieces of this exhibition is the “dispenser of kisses”, a parody of fairground attractions and religious altars, in which she represented herself as a saint, framed by candles, near an urn in the shape of a naked bust, in which visitors were invited by his voice to slip in a 5-franc coin to obtain “a real artist’s kiss”. The soundtrack of this device resonates on the forecourt of the Abattoirs…
In 1977, this critique of the haggling of art and the female body caused a scandal. “She gave me lean years. But in the end it was exhibited at the Grand Palais and at the Pompidou Center,” says ORLAN. The artist has never prohibited himself from anything. She did a series of “surgical performances” on a plastic surgeon’s billiard table, offering her face “to question the stereotypes of beauty”; copied Courbet’s famous painting, “The Origin of the World”, with an erect male sex; represented herself as Saint Teresa of Avila, pierced by an arrow, “in full ecstatic enjoyment”.
This retrospective at Les Abattoirs traces a unique, modern, funny, fierce, committed, erotic journey. ORLAN plans to return to Toulouse in early June for a performance.