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Artsy: At 70, Body Modification Artist ORLAN Is Still Reinventing Herself

Artsy: At 70, Body Modification Artist ORLAN Is Still Reinventing Herself

First published in Artsy

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In 1977, the French artist known as ORLAN stood outside the Grand Palais in Paris, offering deep, amorous kisses to strangers in exchange for a small donation. Visitors were invited to insert five francs into the neck of her costume—a cutout of her own naked torso—which would tumble into a coin tray at her groin.

The kiss, which was accompanied by baroque music, would last for two or three seconds and end with an ear-splitting siren. Taking on the role of both Madonna and whore, woman and (slot) machine, Le baiser de l’artiste was one of ORLAN’s earliest cyborgs, and it scandalized the art world.

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