Photographs by Zackary Drucker, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Jamal Nxedlana, Elle Pérez, Walter Pfeiffer, Sally Potter, Viviane Sassen, Collier Schorr, Mickalene Thomas, and Carmen Winant
“Orlando,” draws upon the themes of Virginia Woolf’s prescient 1928 novel Orlando, revolutionary in both form and spirit, to offer original images and writings that celebrate openness, curiosity, and human possibility.
Orlando (1928) tells the story of a young nobleman during the era of Queen Elizabeth I, who lives for three centuries without aging and mysteriously shifts gender along the way. In 1992, filmmaker Sally Potter released a now classic adaptation of the book with Tilda Swinton in the starring role as Orlando. Since then, Woolf’s tale has continued to hold sway over Swinton, who describes the book’s ability “to change like a magic mirror. Where I once assumed it was a book about eternal youth, I now see it as a book about growing up, about learning to live.”
“Woolf wrote Orlando,” Swinton notes, “in an attitude of celebration of the oscillating nature of existence. She believed the creative mind to be androgynous. I have come to see Orlando far less as being about gender than about the flexibility of the fully awake and sensate spirit. This issue of Aperture (and the accompanying exhibition) are a salute to limitlessness, and a heartfelt celebration of the fully inclusive and expansive vision of life exemplified by the extraordinary artists collected here.”