ORLAN Manifesto

“I’ve changed my face, I’ve sold my ‘artist’s kisses’, I sell my body, and still the sky hasn’t fallen in. I’ve acted without fear, never feeling influenced or threatened by the long-standing, collective dread of interfering with the integrity of the body.

As early as the 1960s, she decided that she would no longer have a date of birth and embarked on a re-creation of her identity and total re-appropriation of herself. ORLAN: every letter of her name is written in capitals. The name of the artist is in itself a manifesto: “My name, ORLAN, is part of my reinvention of myself, part of the re-making of myself; everything I have done is a break with my family affiliation, with the name of the father and the body of the mother.”

ORLAN’s own body is embodied in the body of work she has created. She is the sculptor of her own existence. She has done far more than create a style for herself; she has made herself into a form of life in its own right. Every part of her is involved in this self-modelling; everything partakes of the continuous techno-organic performance. She is a dialectical figure: both the sculptor and the sculpted matter. ORLAN is also a conceptual persona, an entity whose life is devoted to itself as a thought.

This volume presents the works of ORLAN in all their formal and conceptual consistency. From the first performances (Body-Sculpture without Mask, 1964) to the Surgery-Performances of the 1990s and onto the most recent digital hybridations, this comprehensive overview of the artist’s work is bolstered by critical texts and an interview that explores the foundations of ORLAN’s project and its resonance with contemporary issues.

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Bilingual English / French edition

Texts by Manuela de Barros, Emilie Bouvard, Julie Crenn, Elsa Dorlin, Florian Gaité, ORLAN, Maura Reilly, Annabelle Ténèze

179 colour reproductions

139 black-and-white reproductions

192 pages

16,5 × 24 × 1,7 cm


Published on 17/06/2022

ISBN : 978-2-490505-40-1

Graphic designer: Huz & Bosshard


Coproduced with Les Abattoirs – Frac Occitanie Toulouse