TOM OF FINLAND, Untitled (From Sex on the Train), 1974, Pen and ink on paper, 10.75″ x 7.88″, Tom of Finland Foundation permanent collection, © 1974 – 2020 Tom of Finland Foundation
The UK’s first public exhibition dedicated solely to gay cultural icon Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen) on the centenary of his birth.
This timely exhibition celebrates the artist whose unique aesthetic and homoerotic visions had a profound impact on the likes of Queen and the Village People – despite living and working in a country where both homosexuality and pornography were illegal.
It will feature iconic, previously unseen drawings from Tom of Finland Foundation’s collection – unabashed tributes to gay sexuality and identity which continue to have an outsize influence today.
The Finnish artist, known for his subversive, sexualised portraits of sailors, policeman and bulging leather-clad bikers, will be remembered in a far-reaching retrospective at London’s House of Illustration to celebrate the centenary of his birth.
Tom of Finland: Love and Liberation will display 40 works on paper produced from the 1960s to the 1980s, both before and after homosexuality was decriminalised in much of Europe and the U.S.
Tom of Finland drew popular acclaim for his highly stylised homoerotic illustrations, which cunningly circumvented restrictive censorship laws of the 1950s and ’60s.