Solo Exhibition by ORLAN in November
For the first time in Latvia, the exhibition offers the opportunity to meet one of the contemporary art icons, the French artist ORLAN. An artist whose work is always controversial and pushing the traditional boundaries: between classical art and technological innovation, academic values and elements of popular culture, the beautiful and the ugly, male and female perceptions, etc. The personality of ORLAN is always in the limelight, and it is through this publicity that the artist expresses her principles and strives to overcome violence, gender discrimination, masculine ideology, racism, xenophobia and other “roots of all evil”.
All her life ORLAN has been trying to break the glass wall between the genders, generations, races and ethnic groups, cultures, religions, philosophies, between those who believe and those who do not, between the various ways to create art, as the artist said in an interview with “KDi” in January 1, 2013.
By proclaiming her body an instrument of art, ORLAN has built a universe of personal iconography that encompasses the broad spectrum of the artist’s unique exploits: unforgettable performances, photographs, video projects, installations and multimedia projects.
The exhibition in Riga will showcase the artist on quest in the world of visual arts and cinematic transformations based on static and moving images, realty and fiction, glorification of the autonomy of the artist’s personality, and irony at the standards of the marketing machinery of the advertising industry. Being at the forefront of contemporary art, ORLAN has nevertheless never cut the “umbilical cord” connecting her to the heritage of classical art. The artist’s works contain countless references to classical antiquity, medieval era, renaissance, baroque, and the aesthetics of surrealism. In addition, ORLAN employs the forms and conventions of carnival rituals, and the phenomenon of celluloid in the real and fictional film world.
Film is one of the media that the artist explores and works in. Hence the unique project “Plan du Film and Other Scenarios” that will be presented to the Latvian audiences. The project that started in the 1990s will, under the artist’s watchful eye, undergo another metamorphosis at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga. Several Latvian artists are also involved in the organisation of the exhibition: Valters Verners is assisting in the creation of the visual design of the exhibition, and authors from the “Orbīta” group who have created the textual framework for the exhibition.
The exhibition is meant to, in the long term, prompt public debates and re-evaluation of values. The artist’s controversial personality may help better understand the vast spectrum of contemporary art, make the Latvian audience look at life from a different vantage point, discover new emotions and feelings – and something completely new about contemporary art.
Another important long-term contribution is a voluminous, richly illustrated catalogue (publishing house “Neputns” in co-operation with the Latvian National Museum of Art) in Latvian, French and English, offering the public a profound insight into the unique creative world of the artist. The catalogue will be distributed not only in Latvia, but also at the main art centres and museums in Europe. Several acclaimed art researchers have written commentaries for the catalogue. These include an article about the artistic phenomenon of ORLAN by the outstanding French art theoretician and curator Catherine Grenier, whereas an essay by the film and art expert Dominique Païni focuses on the analysis and evaluation of the ingenious solutions employed by ORLAN in the creation of “Plan du Film” project. Both articles were written specifically for the catalogue. We are also grateful to Jean-Pierre Rehm for the permission to include his essay in the catalogue.
The exhibition will be on view in not just the museum but also in various locations across the city, including in provocative posters and a special video performance during the “Staro Rīga” festival of light.