For the summer 2019 issue of Aperture and a coinciding exhibition, Tilda Swinton, as guest editor and curator, draws upon the central themes of Orlando, Virginia Woolf’s prescient 1928 novel. Orlando tells the story of a young nobleman who, during the era of Queen Elizabeth I, lives for three centuries without aging and mysteriously shifts genders along the way. The images and writing chosen by Swinton speak to openness, curiosity and human possibility. The actress notes that “Woolf wrote Orlando in an attitude of celebration of the oscillating nature of existence. I have come to see Orlando far less as being about gender than about the flexibility of the fully awake and sensate spirit.”
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.”
Photographers included in the magazine and exhibition are 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.
Swinton states, “This issue of Aperture will be a salute to indetermination and limitlessness, and a heartfelt celebration of the fully inclusive and expansive vision of life exemplified by the extraordinary artists collected here.”
Tonight at The New York Public Library Swinton and scholar B. Ruby Rich will discuss the forthcoming issue of Aperture magazine, “Orlando.”