|Lady Gaga's most recent "body implants" are reminiscent of the body modification |
performances of the controversial French artist Orlan.
These are some of the ideas that I raised in an earlier blog post when Lady Gaga first donned her infamous meat dress on the cover of Vogues Hommes Japan last year. Many people misread the act as something merely spectacular, when in fact she was carefully referencing a long tradition of female performance art that sought to transgress and reconfigure carefully established boundaries around flesh, gender, and social ritual. In her most recent iteration of this theme, Gaga’s “Born This Way” aesthetic has tapped into another legendary female performance art icon—that of the French artist Orlan.
|Orlan's performance "Accouche d'elle m'aime" (Orlan gives birth|
to her beloved self) is very similar to Lady Gaga's visual motifs
in her recent "Born This Way" video and stage performances.
In her final series of surgeries, Orlan resurfaced with the now infamous “horns” (normally used to enhance cheek bones) that are pictured in the image of Orlan at the beginning of this post. These implants are not entirely unlike the “shocking” implants that appeared on Lady Gaga’s face (and on other parts of her body) in her most recent series of performances accompanying the “Born This Way” album release. Once again, I believe that Gaga is taking her goal of raising awareness of difference and unique beauty to a very conceptual level with this move, and it is clear that the notion of carnal art—described by Orlan as the “not against cosmetic surgery, but rather against the conventions carried by it and their subsequent inscription”—is also at the core of her recent efforts.
See the following clips concerning Orlan's notion of "carnal art" (warning: some may find content disturbing) and compare to the visual world created by Lady Gaga in her dramatic "Born This Way" video:
Clarke, Julie. "The Sacrificial Body of Orlan." Body and Society 5.2 (1999): 185-207.
Knafo, Danielle. "Castration and Medusa: Orlan's Art and the Cutting Edge." Studies in Gender and Sexuality 10.3 (2009): 142-158.