Gucci launches Oviparity, limited-edition artbook by Yorgos Lanthimos, exploring Greek myths & legends along with the brand's Cruise 2020 collection
November 19, 2019 : Inspired by the vision of Gucci's Creative Director Alessandro Michele, Greek photographer, film and stage director, producer, and screenwriter Yorgos Lanthimos has created a striking and thought provoking portfolio of images for the brand’s Cruise 2020 collection, shot at the Leda Gallery of Villa Albani Torlonia in Rome. Gucci gives it a form of an artbook.
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. The villa was a cultural powerhouse, hosting countless discussions on the rise of the new neoclassical style, concerts, dances and masked comedies.
The artbook’s title, Oviparity, 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.
Ms. 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 Mr. Lanthimos' lens. No stranger to theatricality, Mr. 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 Mr. Michele has created around Gucci.
Priced at €70 (£60; $80), Oviparity will be distributed by IDEA Books, a London-based independent publisher. It will also be available at Gucci Garden in Florence and Gucci Wooster in New York.