"Hello, my name is ORLAN, like this, with capital letters", the French artist introduces herself at the doors of the RocioSantaCruz gallery, where she exhibits Les donnes que ploren estan enfadades, a series of digital collages in which she introduces herself to the portraits that Picasso made his then-lover Dora Maar in the 1930s, lending her his eyes, teeth, hands... until he got the model to transform into another woman, stop crying and start screaming . "I don't want to judge the pathological relationship between Picasso and Dora Maar, among other things because they are not here to defend themselves, and besides, it was a different era. What I want is for the role of women in the history of art to be reconsidered, to bring them out of the shadows", he points out.
ORLAN, thus, with capital letters, is a mutant and feminist artist, her work has always been focused on the pressure that society exerts on women's bodies. Dressed in a lilac dress to match her lips, half blonde half brunette, above her eyebrows she wears two of those silicone implants that are usually used to enhance the cheekbones that give her an air of a little imp. They are the culmination of a carnal art project, in which he turned his body into a sculptural object. Between 1990 and 1995, she underwent nine plastic surgery operations. "My whole life is an attempt to get out of the frame", points out the creator, who explains that her passage through the operating room was not in search of an ideal of beauty, but to remove the mask she was born with and reinvent it. "Creating myself by destroying any trace of an imposed identity", she says, and emphasizes: "I didn't want to be more beautiful or take years off, but quite the opposite: uglier, monstrous, undesirable". His body is his, it belongs to him.
Born Mireille Porte in Saint-Étienne in 1947, "I gave birth to myself when I was 16 or 17," she recalls. Then, already in his forties, he began that radical series entitled The Reincarnation of Santa Orlan, through which he rewrote Western art in his own face. One operation altered his mouth to imitate that of François Boucher's Europa, another changed his forehead to imitate that of Leonardo's Mona Lisa; the chin was modified to resemble that of Botticelli's Venus; he borrowed the eyes from Gérôme's Psyche and the nose is inspired by a sculpture of Diana.
"At first they thought this wasn't art, that she was crazy. They said the same about the Impressionists and now their images are on chocolate boxes. I trust that the same will happen with my body", he laughs. He has tried to donate it to a museum, with no luck at the moment. A pioneer of performance, throughout her career she photographed herself naked, and gave birth to an androgynous mannequin; he transmuted into a kiss vending machine in exchange for five francs; exposed the semen-stained sheets of her multiple lovers; in the Louvre Museum he attached a small triangle of his own pubic hair to the naked woman in The Abduction of Antiope and his painting The Origin of War showed a man with his penis erect, lying on a bed like the woman in Courbet's painting.
The series that is now showing in Barcelona was made as a result of a commission from the Picasso Museum in Paris, where it was recently presented, and will then go to PhotoEspaña. Exhibitions await him in Mexico, Luxembourg, France... He has published his autobiography Striptease in Gallimard. Tout sur ma vie, tout sur mon art and has published a musical album, Le slow de l'artiste, with which he wants to introduce slow dance to young people who have never danced it. And he still has time to maintain his particular war against influencers (“they lend themselves to play all the stereotypes simply to sell a product and manufacture an abominable society”), religion (an invention to sustain the patriarchy, in addition to a source of pedophiles and war conflicts) and football ("factory of masculinity"). "I propose a collective suicide. Being a feminist doesn't mean being a man-hating curmudgeon. I love men... Those who don't kill, don't rape, respect...".