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The woman's body as art: A theoretical investigation focusing on "The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan"


The third part examines pertinent art historical, philosophical, and theoretical discourses regarding the relationship between one's self image and the material body one presents to the world. I argue that Orlan's performance surgeries deconstruct binary codes by viscerally tampering with epistemological truths, and that from the point of view of the spectator, a deconstruction of Orlan's identity comes into play as well. Taking the necessity of this performed deconstruction into account, I discuss Orlan's work in relation to the following binary structures: self/other, interior/lexterior, and feminine beauty/the monstrous feminine. Informing these discussions are, for example, Luce Irigaray's feminist psychoanalytic analysis of women's relationship to the self/other binary, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, and Camilla Griggers' discussions of facialization, Antonin Artaud's description of the body without organs, Jacques Derrida's definition of deconstruction as a double affirmation, Elizabeth Grosz's appropriation of deconstruction into feminist theory.