By C. Jill O'Bryan
Responding to Orlan's definition of her functionality surgical procedures as "carnal art," C. Jill O'Bryan considers how the artist's ever-fluctuating reconstructions of her face query idealized attractiveness and feminine id, persuasively arguing that Orlan's surgically reinvented face succeeds in either reinforcing and breaking up corporeal subjectivity and illustration. O'Bryan contextualizes Orlan's surgical procedures in the centuries-long historical past of public dissections and surgical procedures open to the general public and of lavish anatomical illustrations created to attract the gaze into the opened anatomy to Artaud's "Theater of Cruelty" within the early 20th century and modern works and performances through Cindy Sherman and Hans Bellman and Annie Sprinkle.
A compelling blurring of the road among feminist conception and paintings feedback, O'Bryan's shut exam of Orlan's performance-surgeries complicates and reconfigures the notions of identity--and its relation to the body--at the very center of experience.
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Carnal Art: Orlan's Refacing by C. Jill O'Bryan