Gucci is pleased to announce the publication of a special limited-edition artbook of photographs by Greek photographer, film and stage director, producer, and screenwriter Yorgos Lanthimos. Lanthimos directed The Favourite, which won the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, as well as the Oscar-nominated films Dogtooth and The Lobster. Inspired by the vision of Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele, Lanthimos has created a striking and thought provoking portfolio of images for Cruise 2020, shot at the Leda Gallery of Villa Albani Torlonia in Rome.
Villa Albani Torlonia was designed in the mid-18th century by the architect Carlo Marchionni and was influenced by key figures such as Giovanni Battista Nolli, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Johann Joachim Winckelmann, to house the prestigious collection of antiquities, curated by the latter, of Cardinal Alessandro Albani, nephew of Pope Clement XI. The villa was a cultural powerhouse, hosting countless discussions on the rise of the new neoclassical style, concerts, dances and masked comedies.
The Leda gallery, was built within the Villa grounds, home to an exceptional collection of Greek and Roman sculptures. It is named after the statue that sits at its centre – Leda and the Swan – an exquisite first-century Roman copy of an earlier Greek statue from the fourth century BC attributed to Timotheus. Alessandro Michele took this as his inspiration for the shoot, which explores, among other things, the importance of the value of the copy, which possesses its own authenticity. The artbook’s title, Oviparity, also nods to the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, as it is a zoological term meaning the production of eggs by an animal; in some versions of the story, Leda, having been seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan, lays two eggs from which two of her children are hatched.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ images depict elderly men and women whose powdered white skin mimics the pallor of marble. They pose like statues or artists’ models and interact with young people wearing colourful and patterned Gucci outfits, who are in the full flush of youth.
Often these young and aged bodies embrace or touch each other tenderly, prompting the viewer to consider the relationship between the eternal, beautiful sculpted statues and their transient, living subject matter: humanity.
The atmosphere of sumptuous, historical art and culture is perfectly captured by Yorgos Lanthimos’ lens. No stranger to theatricality, Yorgos Lanthimos has not only written and made films – and is an award winner at Cannes and an Academy Award nominee – but has also directed theatre. His blackly comedic style is compelling and unsettling, and well suited to the surreal dreamscape that Alessandro Michele has created around Gucci. Yorgos Lanthimos also shot the Men’s Cruise 2020 lookbook for Gucci.
Priced at €70 (£60; $80), Oviparity will be published in November and will be distributed by IDEA Books, the London-based independent publisher. It will also be available at Gucci Garden in Florence and Gucci Wooster in New York.
Thanks to this project, the Leda Gallery of Villa Albani Torlonia will be restored.