The four-time Oscar nominee has photographed Gucci’s Cruise 2020 limited-edition art book, Ωοτοκία (Oviparity) in Rome
The Greek film and stage director, Yorgos Lanthimos – perhaps best known for his 2018 film The Favourite, for which he was nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director Oscars – has collaborated with Gucci on a new photo book, which captures creative director Alessandro Michele’s Cruise 2020 collection, first shown in Rome’s Capitoline Museum earlier this year.
Titled Ωοτοκία (Oviparity), Lanthimos travelled to one of the city’s other cultural institutions, the Leda Gallery of Villa Albani Torlonia in Rome, to shoot the series. Designed by architect Carlo Marchionni in the mid-18th century, the gallery houses a vast collection of antiquities, including numerous Greek and Roman sculptures. The sculptures are where Lanthimos’ book begins: models are dusted with white powder to “mimic 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,” says the house. “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 Leda gallery, which is built within the villa’s grounds, is named for the statue at its centre, Leda and the Swan. The sculpture is a copy: made in the first century, it is a Roman version of an earlier Greek statue, which Michele took as inspiration for the shoot, exploring “the importance of the value of the copy, which possesses its own authenticity”. The book’s title, Oviparity – a zoological term which refers to the production of eggs by an animal – is also in reference to the Greek myth: Leda, after being seduced by Zeus, who is in the form of a swan, lays two eggs from which her children are hatched.