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Rémi Deligeon
Les événements

Bodies and sculpturesThe ORLAN Manifesto

The ORLAN Manifesto. Bodies and sculptures exhibition takes place from 8th April to 28th August 2022 at Les Abattoirs.
ORLAN is a pioneering and French artist who stands out from the crowd. From the 1960s to the present day, she has questioned the status of the body in society. This new exhibition presents her works with a common thread: sculpture.

A deep-rooted commitment

Among the hundred or so works on display are emblematic pieces that question the public and even invite them to participate. Performance, photography, video, augmented reality, robotics... ORLAN's approach is multiple and transdisciplinary. She uses her own body as a tool for denouncing social, political and religious pressures on women's bodies in particular, and takes a critical look at cultural norms and beauty expectations.

"My name is ORLAN, among others and wherever possible. Each letter is written in capital letters because I refuse to be part of the crowd."

The Great Hall can be walked through in one direction and then the other to see the artworks in space but also in time. They form a sum of all the elements of ORLAN's uncompromising artistic journey. Black and white photos, sculptures of body-free dresses or the artist's own body whose mutant and luminous components react to the presence of visitors: the body is born, takes shape, asserts itself, transforms itself and never leaves anyone indifferent. Before exploring the seven adjoining rooms, follow the sound to the back of the nave to discover ORLAN-OÏDE, the artist's robot with artificial intelligence.

From the 1960s onwards, ORLAN chose to expose her body and denounce the limitations imposed on women. Through her performances and photographs, she took to the streets, experimenting with poses that were far removed from magazine clichés, draping herself and then undressing herself with a sheet from her trousseau, in opposition to family customs.

ORLAN has performed in many places, using her body as a unit of measurement. These works, entitled MesuRAGEs, are shown in the same room alongside Le Baiser de l'Artiste, a fundamental work that caused a media scandal and shaped ORLAN's career. The work denounces two stereotypes of women: on the one hand, the saint, with an enlarged photo of the artist posing as a Madonna, and on the other, the prostitute, embodied by the artist herself positioned behind a representation of her naked bust. During the performance, for the sum of five francs, onlookers can choose to offer a candle to the Virgin Mary or to exchange a passionate kiss with Mary Magdalene.

ORLAN has also hijacked famous paintings from art history, questioning the status of women in art, seeking to represent women as artists or as subjects rather than as objects.

The public is constantly involved, as in the INTER-ACTIONS room where, among other things, it is possible to scan the works of the Peking Opera Masks to discover the artist performing acrobatics in augmented reality. This is a joke on the part of the artist who likes to express humour and self-mockery, but also a feminist undertaking: in fact, all the actors in the Chinese troupe were men; here, it is a woman who puts on a mask and gives a performance.

Exposition ORLAN aux Abattoirs à Toulouse
Rémi Deligeon

When ORLAN represents or transforms herself, she draws on different registers and cultures in society. She was inspired by religious iconography to develop a series based on the image of the Madonna and the Saint with the help of exuberant dresses.
She also draws inspiration from world cultures to create self-portraits, retouching photos of her face and interweaving them with standards that deviate from our own norms and standards of beauty: African headdresses, pre-Columbian deformed skulls, attributes of Native American chiefs...

The artist is also known for her use of plastic surgery. She has carried out several painless facial procedures, during which she has performed with readings, drawings, recordings… Her two most radical operations were the implants in her cheeks and temples in 1993: a gesture of monstrosity, deliberately at odds with stereotypes, now recognised for its plasticity.


Exposition ORLAN aux Abattoirs
AdagpParis2022 ; photogr. courtesy de l’artiste et Ceysson & Bénétière
Exposition ORLAN aux Abattoirs à Toulouse
AdagpParis2022 ; photogr. courtesy de l’artiste

ORLAN, ORLAN accouche d'elle- m'aime, 1964, tirage jet d'encre, 120 x 140 cm, édition 2/5 © Adagp, Paris, 2022 ; photogr. courtesy de l’artiste et Ceysson & Bénétière ; ORLAN-OÏDE, 2018, sculpture robotique en métal, sonore et animée, 2 m x 0,75 cm, installation robotique et vidéo, dim. variables © Adagp, Paris, 2022 ; photogr. courtesy de l’artiste.

Exhibition from 8th April to 28th August 2022 at Les Abattoirs.


From Wednesday to Sunday, from 12pm to 6pm.
Late opening on Thursday until 8pm, outside school holidays.


Full rate: €9. Concessions: €6.

Exposition ORLAN aux Abattoirs à Toulouse

Les Abattoirs - 76 allée Charles-de-Fitte. Métro Saint-Cyprien.

Musée les Abattoirs