Date(s) - 24th Apr 2020 - 11th May 2020
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Following the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, and in accordance with the recommendations of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and WHO, this show is postponed. The exhibition, and the accompanying programs, will take place in full at a new date this year, once the situation improves.
Presented by Finnish Institute Japan, Embassy of Finland in Japan,
Tom of Finland Foundation, The Container, and Parco
Curated by Shai Ohayon
The exhibition features a selection of 30 historical works, ranging from 1946 to 1989, covering the artist’s entire professional career, and highlighting both his artistic versatility and presenting his identity as an LGBTQ legend who paved the way for LGBTQ rights worldwide and helped to shape gay culture.
Reality & Fantasy brings together a selection of works, covering the artist’s entire four decades of career, and presents works on paper using a variety of mediums, such as graphite, gouache, markers, and pen & ink. Historically, the images highlight milestones and artistic stylistic developments in Tom’s life and practice—starting with his 1940s and ’50s paintings in gouache, of men in stylish attire and uniforms, such as sailors, soldiers and policemen, in fantastic and romantic compositions, influenced by his army service in Finland—to his stylized depictions of leathermen and muscle men in the ’60s and ’70s, and the cleaner, high contrast and graphic drawings of his later career when he was working in Los Angeles.
The exhibition puts emphasis on Tom of Finland’s role in promoting sensual and erotic depictions of the male body as a catalyst for social change and the acceptance of gay people, while facing a legal and social reality they were fighting to change. Delving into a world of fantasy, with sexual freedom, Tom depicted a new “gay masculinity”, adding to the vocabulary of what gay men were allowed to be by society.