The first solo exhibition of Canadian, Berlin-based, artist-collaborators
Travis Larusson and Przemek Pyszczek.
The most influential homoerotic illustrations of the 20th Century were created by Touko Laaksonen, known as Tom of Finland. These iconic works depicted a number of men, often soldiers, police officers, bikers, and laborers with exaggerated anatomy engaged in sexual activity. These libidinal, seemingly incidental, encounters occurred in detached bucolic outcroppings and marginal interiors. The amplified fantasy of masculinity, derived from existing rebellious heterosexual subcultures, constructed the prominent archetype for gay men of the past century.
With Tom of Finland as a conceptual agent, Larusson & Pyszczek present Your History Is Not Our History, exhibiting a series of photographs, paintings, and drawings bearing the same title. The works project, occupy, and remove familiar content, avoiding the often reductive qualities of appropriation and enlisting more expansive qualities of manifestation and inquiry. Contemporary identity comes up against the constructed identity of the past, with each side effected equally.
History is not negated, but perhaps mutated.
Larusson & Pyszczek’s execution of both the oil paintings and the drawings match the incredible draftsmanship and skill of their source material. Tom of Finland’s figures are re-drawn in the silhouettes of the artist duo’s re-staging of the acts that take place in the original drawings. The abstraction evokes a gap or partial relation to the past.
The ungrounded figures, highly rendered in graphite and formally delicate, have a mysterious romance.
Saturday, February 18th, 2012
February 18 through March 17
Click image to view Tom’s Galleries
Tom of Finland created artwork that greatly influenced Gay culture
by challenging oppressive stereotypes. Even with progress in Gay rights today,
stereotyping continues in entertainment and media,
proving that a discussion about the diversity
of masculine and feminine role models is as relevant now, as ever.
–Volker Morlock, curator, TOM OF FINLAND: Male Masterworks, Miami Beach, 2012.