- By: Rachel Armstrong
There is a growing fashion in contemporary art for body artists to work with their own flesh in radical ways that involve medical techniques. Their rhetoric is that their body is their canvas and that they are inscribing their individual statement of self portraiture in their appearance.
One such artist, the French performance artist Orlan, calls her approach “carnal art.” From its origin on 30 May 1990 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Orlan was the first to declare that she was using a new method of making art, incorporating the radical use of surgery to transform her body. This technique was not an attempt like Cindy Jackson (a minor celebrity) to perfect “beautification” of the body, but a wilful attempt to contradict the culturally accepted standards of idealised beauty, replacing these with her own designs.
Other artists have adopted similar approaches, such as Elizabeth Christiansen, who has attempted to look