“Feminist art is art by women artists made consciously in the light of developments in feminist art theory in the early 1970s.” [http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/f/feminist-art, Last Accessed on 22.11.2015]
Feminist Art, as a style, emerged in the 1960’s and has been gaining popularity in artists, critics and the public ever since. Though contemporary feminist artists are of course important to movement, it is impossible to talk about art without mentioning the late 1960’s and 70’s.
After being pressured for years, in the 60’s women finally stepped up and raised their voices to show that they are not just craft-makers, they are artists. When feminist art only started emerging many artist were not recognized as real artists; the critics and the crowd created assumptions about feminists artists and their art, saying that their art does not have universal validity as it is just “female art.” Which only stimulated them to protest more and create more art.
One of very important feminist artists is Orlan, who is a contemporary French artist that was born in the 1947. Orlan is known for her performance art pieces, many of which include body modifications that she does on herself.
A particular piece that caught the attention of many is called “L’Origine de la Guerre” (“The Origin of War”) that she created in 1989. This piece is a feminist take on the painting by Gustave Courbet “L’Origine du Monde” (“The Origin of the World”) made in 1866. The Origin of the World is a painting of a close up view of a female’s genitals and abdomen, and it is clear that the painter inferred that without women, who are the ones giving birth there would be no world. Orlan took that idea in mind and created her own version of that painting, by showing a close up of a male’s genitals and abdomen, and suggesting that without men there would be no war.
In this interview with the TV5Monde, Orlan talked a little bit about her piece, that at the time of the interview was exhibited at the Musee D’Orsay, where the original “L’Origine du Monde” is on permanent display. It was a very interesting choice from the curator to put Orlan’s piece in the same space, and of course a big honor for her, as it would be for any artist. Orlan mentions that she’s always been interested in pointing out things that she finds problematic or wrong with the society, politics and religion through her art, and “L’Origine de la Guerre” is a one of a kind piece that she felt she had to make to show her feminist point of view on the world we all live in.