Henzel Studio Collaborations/Heritage |11th June | PRIDE in DTLA

Henzel Austere INVITATION v3.indd

Austere, a unique retail space for Scandinavian design and cultural programming located in Downtown LA, presents the first West Coast exhibition of art rugs produced by Henzel Studio, the world’s leading brand in the field.

The exhibition will serve as the US debut of Henzel Studio’s collaboration with Tom of Finland Foundation in the creation of a collection of 13 art rugs and 3 art pillows inspired by the unique environment and interior elements that make TOM House.  Located in Echo Park, Los Angeles, it is home of Tom of Finland Foundation, guardians of the artist’s body of work and living archive for the erotic arts, and where Tom permanently lived for the last decade of his life.

A hand knotted rug, entirely woven by hand over the course of five months, depicts one of Tom of Finland’s most iconic works of a Leatherman wearing a cap. The drawing was made as a study for the visual identity of the gay leather bar TOM’s Saloon, the only place Tom lent his name to. Made with comparable intricacy as the original drawing, it is free form and in select areas enhanced with silk to add shine and replicate the effect of polished leather.

The artworks woven into the hand tufted rug designs consist of a series of preparatory drawings, many unseen or ever reproduced. They feature portraits, scenes depicting camaraderie, homoerotic gaze, flirtation and sexual acts. One drawing outlines a man engaged in a boot fetish scene, another a nipple flirtation, whereas a third a f**k scene, bringing new meaning to love making on a rug.

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TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (Preparatory drawing), 1978, Graphite on paper © 1978 Tom of Finland Foundation

The art pillows, featuring unique collages, are based on the numerous collage works that can be found at TOM House; covering entire pieces of furniture, in nooks on walls and ceilings, and even on the rear end of their vintage car. The featured collages are composed of proof prints from vintage Tom of Finland books published by the Foundation in the ’80s, pages from original Physique Pictorial magazines from the ’60s-’70s and other printed material accumulated over the past thirty years. The dense works illustrate the vast styles and techniques of the artists, and offer a visually stunning and unfiltered insight into Tom of Finland’s work.

On view till 14th August

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