Stux Gallery presents Orlan: Digital Photographs and Sculptures, Refiguration / Self-Hybridization:
The Pre-Columbian and African Series, on view through October 15. This will be Orlan’s first solo
exhibition in New York in ten years and the artist’s first exhibition with Stux Gallery.
The exhibition will consist of self-portrait photographs from Orlan’s Self-Hybridization: Pre-Columbian
series, works that focus on the merging of histories, past and present, cultural identity and ideal forms of
beauty. Orlan will, as she has in the past, rely on the advances of technology to assist her in combining
her own constructed image with those of Pre-Columbian icons representing the standards of ideal beauty
from non-Western cultures. Also on display will be two life size resin sculptures from the artist’s
African Self-Hybridization series.
In these photographs and sculptures, Orlan continues to question the social and cultural pressures exerted
on the body and its representation in the media. Orlan has created in these works a new image, literally
combining Pre-Columbian and African icons with her own image; the resulting hybridizations create a
complex narrative that confuses distinctions between time and place, real and unreal. She has given
herself a new image in order to produce new images: the Self-Hybridizations. The works contain
evidence of past tribal rites and rituals associated with beautification that, in conjunction with Orlan’s
own modifications via cosmetic plastic surgery, comment on prominent issues in recent history such as
collective identity, tragedy, and exclusivity. The Self-Hybridations also act as portraits of a potential
future humanity, in which the interbreeding between human beings from various origins give birth to
new bodies, with nomadic and mutant identities.
Orlan’s treatment of her own image is enhanced by the introduction of issues of “self” and “other,”
adding to the layering of the artwork. The overwhelming collection of “faces” in combination with
Orlan’s already hybridized face, offers insight into the complexities of an artist who is attempting to
create a new “self.” Orlan’s work, which has occupied the forms of installation, photography, video,
performance and sculpture, references the artist’s surgical performances, from 1990 to 1993, where she
used plastic surgery to create artworks that established new identities.