[Warning! Mature and Graphic Content Below]
We’ve all toyed with the idea before, a little nip and tuck and it looks like we’ve just had a sip from the fountain of youth. Is it to upkeep the foundation for a few extra years in the biz, or is it for your own self worth? According to the annual plastic surgery procedural statistics, in 2015 there were 15.9 Million surgical and cosmetic procedures performed in the United States alone!
Whatever the logic, there are infinite reasons to pay a visit for a touch up or top up, but sometimes it’s purely for the sake of Art! Think we’re kidding? Peel back the plaster and bandages and uncover the wild and crazy incentives that these artists felt to go under the knife!
Orlan. The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan. 1990.
Orlan. The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan. 1990
Orlan, born Mireille Suzanne Francette Porte began a project in the name of art, because of art! The artist underwent multiple plastic surgeries in order to embody the ‘ideal female beauty’. The performance was based on canons of beauty that have been depicted by male artists throughout art history: Botticelli’s Venus and Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, she calls it "a struggle against the innate".
Stelarc. Ear On Arm. 2007.
Stelarc. Ear On Arm. 2007
The Australian performance artist had a cell-cultivated ear attached to his arm…Meaning, the ear was first constructed as a soft prothesis engineered into physical existence using his own skin. Once his third ear was securely transplanted into his arm, the artist's own tissue and blood vessels morphed with the material to create an ear that is now a living, feeling, functioning part of his body!
Mao. Sugiyama. Testicle Banquet. 2012.
Mao Sugiyama. Testicle Banquet. 2012
A self-described asexual, and largely regarded ‘crazy ass’, Sugiyama caused a scandal with his insane “palatable” performance art piece. The artist underwent elective genital-removal surgery, only to dish up his penis shaft, testicles and scrotal skin amongst five patrons. The one-of-a-kind entrée was garnished with mushrooms and parsley. Sugiyama explained that the performance was meant to raise awareness about “sexual minorities, x-gender, asexual people.”
Lady Jaye Breyer & Genesis P-Orridge. The Pandrogeny Project. 1993.
Breyer P-Orridge. The Pandrogeny Project. 1993
“We were constantly absolutely integrated through love. We were really two halves of one whole.”
For the avant-garde performance artist duo, P-Orridge and life partner Lady Jaye Breyer, it was love at first sight. Together they commenced a gender-challenging project to become the Pandrogyne; their “third entity, but not the third gender.” Inspired by Burroughs and Brion Gysin and their cut-ups of literature and images, they wondered “what if we cut up our bodies and our identities so that we bemuse a third being not just a third mind?” Through multiple surgeries, the couple slowly became mirror images, cementing their shared identity: Breyer P-Orridge.
L-R: Ron Athey. Still from Solar Anus & Still from Self Obliteration. [check out the full video for Solar Anus below.]
Ron Athey. His Entire Oeuvre. Life.
Yea, he may not have been pricked and poked by a certified MD, but this guy definitely gets an honourable mention from us! An extreme performance artist, Athey deals with themes of trauma, ritual, resistance and HIV awareness through the mutilation of his own body! In 1998 he first performed, Solar Anus inspired by Georges Bataille’s same titled erotic essay. The piece begins with a streaming, long string of pearls like pellets of light from the centre of a large black sun tattooed around his anus. Shine on, shine on! In Self Obliteration, Athey sits in a glass box wearing nothing but a blonde wig with needles hidden within. As he brushes the wig, blood sprays from his scalp onto the glass walls. Athey has gone on to participate in a throng of collaborations that exhibit his extreme inclinations. Guess, the saying is true that you can take the boy out of Connecticut, but you can’t take the lust for bloodletting out of the boy!