From the late 12th century until 1809, Finland was part of Sweden, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. It then became the Grand Duchy of Finland, an autonomous duchy within the Russian Empire, until the Russian Revolution which prompted the Finnish Declaration of Independence in 1917.
This was followed by the Finnish Civil War in which the pro-Bolshevik Finnish Socialist Workers’ Republic was defeated by the pro-conservative “Whites” with support from the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a Kingdom of Finland, the country became a republic.
In World War II, Finnish forces fought in three separate conflicts: the Winter War (1939–1940) and Continuation War (1941–1944) against the Soviet Union and the Lapland War (1944–1945) against Nazi Germany. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality. It joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1969, the European Union in 1995, and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999.
In 1906, Finland became the first nation in the world to give full suffrage (the right to vote and to run for office) to all adult citizens, including women.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, it rapidly developed an advanced economy while building an extensive Nordic-style welfare state, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development. In 2010, Newsweek chose Finland as the best country in the world.
On 28 November 2014, Finnish Parliament cast the decisive vote paving the way for the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
– Pete Karjalainen
From Tom of Finland’s private reference binders of photo-collages.
Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1979 portrait of Bryan Ridley and Lyle Heeter provides an fitting surrogate for the seemingly contradictory aesthetics of New York architect Peter Marino. In one of the photographer’s most well-known images, a couple’s black leather clothing (and chains) is juxtaposed with their high-end domestic interior, replete with a wingback chair, oriental rug, and white antler end table. Marino, who is a collector of Mapplethorpe’s work, is not only the leading architect for fashion brands and upscale residences but also renowned for his head-to-toe leather biker gear.
Mapplethorpe’s photographs and Marino’s attire are similarly indebted to motorcycle culture and the drawings of Tom of Finland, which both reflected a growing discontent with mainstream American culture after WWII. Born Touko Laaksonen, Tom of Finland began producing drawings of idealized and hypersexualized men for beefcake magazines such as Physique Pictorial. The artist was particularly attracted to the stylized masculinity of leather-clad bikers, popularized by the actor Marlon Brando in the 1953 film The Wild One.
Tom of Finland’s now iconic pictures of leathermen have provided inspiration for Marino’s custom made wardrobe, and, in a Document exclusive, the architect has selected several pages from the artist’s own private reference binders of photo-collages. The pages reveal (as similarly demonstrated by an exhibition at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art last winter) that Tom of Finland was more than an illustrator, but a powerful artist who continues to influence our contemporary aesthetics and desires.
One Way: Peter Marino is open now through May 3, at the Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Avenue, and explores the renowned American architect’s multifaceted relationship with art. Recognized as a pioneer of cross-disciplinary practice, Peter Marino has been celebrated over the past four decades for his forward-thinking work that exists at the intersection of art, fashion and architectural design. Special thanks to Joakim Andreasson.
Text by Drew Sawyer