Aperture Launches “Orlando” with Tilda Swinton in a Series of Events

In May, Aperture opened an exhibition of work featured in its “Orlando” issue, guest edited by Tilda Swinton.

Last month, Aperture Gallery opened an exhibition of work featured in Aperture magazine’s Summer 2019 issue, “Orlando,” guest edited by Tilda Swinton. The opening was capped off over the following week by a screening of Sally Potter’s 1992 film adaptation of Orlando at Metrograph, and a discussion between Swinton and critic B. Ruby Rich at the New York Public Library.


Opening Reception: Orlando at Aperture Gallery

On Thursday, May 23, guests gathered at Aperture Gallery to celebrate the launch of the Summer 2019 issue of Aperture magazine and coinciding exhibition, Orlando, guest-edited and curated by Tilda Swinton. The project draws upon the central themes of Virginia Woolf’s prescient 1928 novel—gender fluidity, consciousness without limits, and the deep perspective of a long life—to offer a collection of images and writings that celebrate openness, curiosity, and human possibility.

In attendance were Waris Ahluwalia, Hilton Als, Antwaun Sargent, Tilda Swinton, Stefano Tonchi, and artists Dawoud Bey, Zackary Drucker, Ethan James Green, Duane Michals, Elle Pérez, and Collier Schorr, among others. Guests enjoyed prosecco by Monsieur Touton.

Addressing the crowd, Aperture Executive Director Chris Boot thanked Swinton: “Thank you especially to Tilda Swinton for putting this project together with us in the echoes of time, Orlando, and Virginia Woolf.” Boot extended thanks to Aperture’s Board of Trustees, Members, Patrons, and staff, as well as to Slobodan Randjelović and Jon Stryker. He went on to thank ROOT Studios for supporting the production of Mickalene Thomas’s work in the Orlando issue, and launch partners The New York EDITION and Mercedes-Benz.

Swinton followed with an introduction to the project. “When we first had this idea of making something around Orlando, I sent out an invitation to an extraordinary group of people, each of whom I was a superfan,” she remarked. “Everybody came towards it with a sense of real personal thrill and autobiography, and that really was meaningful to us.” She went on to express gratitude to Aperture. “Orlando forever, and forever Aperture. Because truly, where else could something as completely supersonic as this idea take flight? This is a glorious space, and everyone who works here is to be lauded for keeping it alive.”

Orlando is on view at Aperture Gallery through July 11, 2019.

Film Screening: Orlando at Metrograph

On Tuesday, May 28, a screening of Sally Potter’s 1992 film, Orlando, was held at Metrograph in New York City, followed by remarks by Tilda Swinton. The film features Swinton as Orlando, an immortal nobleman who is shocked one day to awake and find himself transformed into a woman. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel, the film boldly takes liberties with the text, a cinematic equivalent of Woolf’s own searching literary inventions.

To a sold-out theatre, Swinton reflected on the legacy of Orlando. “It goes on inspiring,” she remarked. “Of course this film was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s book of 1928, and now we have all these other artists who were inspired by Sally’s film, and maybe in twenty-five years there will be something, I don’t know, some interpretive dance inspired by the Aperture magazine issue ‘Orlando.’” Later in the evening, Swinton introduced a screening of Derek Jarman’s 1990 film, The Garden, one of her many collaborations with the director.

In Conversation: Tilda Swinton and B. Ruby Rich at the New York Public Library

On Wednesday, May 29, Tilda Swinton was joined by scholar B. Ruby Rich at the New York Public Library for a discussion on the “Orlando” issue of Aperture magazine. The two discussed Woolf’s legacy, the multitude of roles Swinton has played throughout her career, and the actor’s collaboration with artists who made new work reflecting on the themes of Orlando.

A one-night-only display of several items including unique photographs, correspondence, and a first edition of Orlando—all of which are housed in the Library’s world-renowned Berg Collection, was on view.

The New York Public Library is home to one of the largest collections of Virginia Woolf’s archives, with holdings including original manuscripts (among them, a typed fragment of Orlando), rare first editions, unique photographs, and the author’s walking stick.

Stream the conversation here.

The Opening Reception of Orlando was photographed by BFA.


Orlando is made possible, in part, with the support of Slobodan Randjelović and Jon Stryker. Aperture also thanks ROOT STUDIOS for supporting the production of Mickalene Thomas’s work in this issue.

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