BETWEEN THE FOLLY AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF SEEING: ORLAN, RECLAIMING THE GAZE
Abstract (Summary)The male gaze of Western art history objectifies women, projects standards of beauty and femininity and negates an individual identity by replacing it with its own assumptions. French artist Orlan provides one of the most striking and effective critiques of this gaze through her controversial series, "The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan," in which she uses plastic surgery to appropriate the facial features of various Western art historical beauties, further exploring themes evident in her earlier performance and photographic work. Orlan’s critique of the gaze is unprecedented because she becomes the art object, from which vantage she interrogates and reclaims the way the male gaze has positioned women, on the four specific levels of objecthood, femininity, beauty, and identity. Intentionally turning her body into an object of resistant art, she rejects a tradition that equates femininity with passivity, male-imposed standards of a single, ideal beauty, and notions of a fixed identity.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:orlan beauty carnal art body
Date of Publication:01/01/2006