22/06/2024 9:53 PM


Adorn your Feelings

Juxtapoz Magazine – Orlando: Tilda Swinton Curates an Exhibition Based on the Novel by Virginia Woolf

2 min read


The 1928 novel Orlando tells the story of a young noble person in the age of Queen Elizabeth I who lives for centuries without aging and has the mysterious ability to switch gender. In 1992, filmmaker Sally Potter devised what has become a classic adaptation of the book with actress Tilda Swinton in the title role. ‘I see Orlando as a story about the life and development of a human striving to become liberated entirely from the constructs of prescriptive gender or social norms of any kind,’ Tilda Swinton says of Woolf’s story.

In the dual role of guest editor and curator, Swinton took up the central concerns of the novel in a special issue she devised for the magazine Aperture and in an accompanying exhibition: gender fluidity, the idea of boundless consciousness and the prospect of eternal life. Her concept brings together the work of eleven artists – a combination of established contemporary positions and images by photographers who have yet to be discovered. The exhibition also includes an introduction developed by Fotomuseum Winterthur introducing the writer Virginia Woolf and filmmaker Sally Potter.

The works – some of them conceived especially for the exhibition – challenge dominant power relations and structures as well as heteronormative ideas and the white male gaze. They examine the construction of identity and the representation of marginalized communities and alternative life plans. The works do not confine themselves to questions of gender; they are a celebration of creativity, openness, curiosity and the diversity of human existence. The exhibition thus plugs into current sociopolitical debates, while providing insight into a wide range of artistic approaches.

The exhibition features works 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.


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