chapter
4 Pages

Introduction

Imogen Ashby's essay takes a closer look at one of the most controversial of these body artists. Located within a feminist materialist perspective, "The Mutant Woman: The Use and Abuse of the Female Body in Performance Art" examines the risk-taking "performances" of Orlan. Offering an analysis of the links - often parodic - between her facial operations and the hegemonic practices of mainstream cosmetic surgery, she goes on to assert hat Orlan's art/ifice challenges the very notion of a fixed and immutable inner identity. Her transmogrifications do not make her more Orlan, but hint at a multiplicity of selves "constantly shifting and in motion"; they reveal both how gender is socially constructed and how technology can be enlisted, not only to render the body beautiful but to question societal perceptions of female pulchritude.