press release

Since the Sixties, Orlan has made her own body the medium for a work that challenges the contemporary political, religious and social pressures brought to bear on individuals, particularly women.

Working in the heritage of the formerly religious setting of the abbey, Orlan has created a project that mingles time periods, hybridises appearances and unites differences. The exhibition focuses on two of the artist's favourite modes of expression: video and above all sculpture. The problems posed by the work's relationship to the venue, crucial in the abbey's highly singular spaces, gives the artist the opportunity for an exploration in depth. With the questions Orlan raises, the works – especially produced for the exhibition –demonstrate in various forms her direct, joyful and subversive way of creating art in the first person.

In the barn, a limousine - luxury item and symbol of marriage - provides the support for a video projection entitled Orlan Remix: Romain Gary, Costa-Gavras, Deleuze and Guattari. This monumental installation with its strange poetry, a criticism of standardised social representations that emphasises the absurdity of racism, extols a utopian social mix.

In the parlour, Sculpting Brushes: luminous prototype no. 1, is the first sculpture in a series entitled Bump Load. Orlan lends her features to this mutant being, simultaneously futuristic, archaic, ethnic and techno-cyber, whose illuminated parts react to the presence of visitors. The result of considerable research and innovative work, Sculpting Brushes: luminous prototype no. 1 is actually an attempt to re-appropriate the use of technology, too often dehumanising, in favour of an unshackled imagination: that of our global society.

In the Gothic decor of the nuns' hall, three robes moulded in resin, created by Orlan, continue the tradition of sculpting folds with their Baroque-style drapes. A remix of historical works, these three identical sculptures – their only difference being the aspect of their surfaces – raise the question of copying and cloning. Enactments of the hyper-luxurious, they link epochs and the permanence of representations: the absent body is simultaneously the Virgin, the artist, and the model who performs in a fashion show.

Mixed marriages, cohabitation and barbarian weddings